No water cuts for industries – but taps could run dry in residential areas

Taps in residential areas could soon run dry as a result of the Nootgedacht waterline collapse
Picture: iStock

The expected water shortages in Nelson Mandela Bay will not affect big industries, as the municipality has promised to protect businesses from the Nooitgedacht waterline collapse last week.

However, some residential areas could be without water at night as the pressure throughout the city’s system has to be dropped to relay water to the affected suburbs.

This comes after a water canal, on a farm on the outskirts of Kirkwood, was destroyed in a landslide last Wednesday, cutting off supply to the Scheepersvlakte Dam and Nooitgedacht water treatment facility.

Municipal infrastructure, electricity and engineering head Annette Lovemore said negotiations between the municipality and the Department of Water and Sanitation were ongoing to increase the allocated water supply from the Kouga and Impofu dams.

It is hoped this could lessen the impact of the lost supply from Nooitgedacht.

“We also asked for a larger allocation from the Churchill dam, but the little water left in that dam simply cannot be stretched any further,” Lovemore said.

She said industrial areas like Perseverance and Markman would not be at risk of running dry, as these areas had water-dependent businesses that needed to keep running.

“We have to protect our industry. Thirsty companies like South African Breweries use up to two million litres of water daily and they need that water to operate,” Lovemore said.

Johan Calitz, maintenance manager at Welfit Oddy, a stainless steel tank container manufacturer, said they were very grateful the water supply to Perseverance would not be affected.

“We construct 23 tankers every day. Each one is treated with an acidic compound and then needs to be thoroughly washed,” he said.

“If we cannot wash the tanks, 1 200 employees would have to be sent home.”

In Markman, Lentaba Meats director Gavin Moorcroft said without water its doors would close, leaving about 490 people without work.

“We need to maintain health regulations and standards and are dependent on water to clean our facilities,” he said.

“If our water supply is shut down we cannot supply meat, effectively killing our business.”

Moorcroft said they were looking at alternative ways to gather water, such as recycling rain water, but at the moment they were dependent on the municipal water supply.

Areas where taps could run dry at night include parts of Uitenhage, Despatch, Motherwell, Colchester, Bluewater Bay, Bloemendal, Bethelsdorp and Chatty.

“We ask for patience from residents and emphasise that no one’s water will be cut off completely,” Lovemore said.

“These are temporary measures until the supply to Nooitgedacht is restored.”

Work to complete a temporary bypass at the collapsed canal was on schedule, water and sanitation department spokesman Sputnik Ratau said.

“We believe the water supply will be restored later this week.”

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