Navy base in hot water over diver tank ‘wastage’

More than half a year’s water supply for a household was being used to fill a diving tank at the SA Navy base in the Port Elizabeth Harbour this week despite the city’s tough water restrictions.

A concerned Nelson Mandela Bay resident alerted the municipality on Thursday after noticing the diving tank being filled using a municipal water supply.

The static tank is said to hold at least 30 000l of water, while the resident said the tank had been filled halfway.

“It is a static tank which I believe is used for diver training,” he said.

The resident said he felt disgusted by the blatant water wastage.

“As citizens, we have penalties and levies we have to abide by, yet here you have people wasting water that could be used in other ways.”

With the average Nelson Mandela Bay household expected to use an average of 67l of water a day – according to the municipality – this equates to 223 days of water for a family.

The SA Navy’s Lieutenant Obed Medupe said yesterday they were unable to comment before further investigations.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the matter had been reported to the municipality by an anonymous caller.

He could not provide a figure for the amount of water used, nor could he provide the exact size of the tank and said, as the incident had occurred inside the harbour, Transnet should be contacted.

But Transnet officials contacted by Weekend Post said they were unaware of the incident and so could not provide comment at this stage.

The resident who initially reported the matter said when he called the municipality about the incident, they had “thanked me and immediately sent someone out to investigate”.

It was confirmed by sources that the water had been shut off the same day.

Asked if any permission had been granted for the tank to be filled, Mniki said: “No permission was granted, but it must be noted that any customer using water through a metered connection – as this is – is responsible to use water in terms of the current restrictions.

“The NMBM cannot take action unless it is absolutely certain that the water was used wastefully.”

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