Metro using millions of spring litres to fill its pools
Inundated with millions of litres of groundwater flowing from his property, a Newton Park man has helped fill up a string of Nelson Mandela Bay public pools for the summer season.
After nearly three years of begging the city to take the water which had been literally going down the drain off his hands, Gregory Adams, 34, finally got officials’ attention in October.
Adams discovered the underground water supply three years ago when he was preparing to build a swimming pool on his property.
Public swimming pools filled by water that comes from Adams’s property include those in Westering, Schauderville, Gelvandale, Wells Estate, KwaNobuhle and Kings Beach, as well as the Middie swimming pool in Summerstrand.
Adams once again contacted the city after he learnt that public swimming pools might not be opened during the summer season due to the drought.
Yesterday, mayor Athol Trollip visited the home to show appreciation to Adams, who has so far donated more than 7.3 million litres of water.
The water is pumped from underground through the swimming pool using an electronic pump and transported in containers to swimming pools around the city in a truck.
Thick pipes connected to tanks and containers could be seen on the property.
“For the last three years, we have been pumping the water into our sewerage system. I have been in battles with the municipality and it has affected my electricity bill,” Adams said.
He declined to disclose his electricity bill, but said the water system had so far cost him about R100 000.
“There is a need for water and when I heard that the swimming pools might not be opened this season I decided to call [municipal official] Charmaine Williams and told her we have water in abundance,” Adams said.
He believed the water came from an endless supply as it had been flowing in the same manner since 2014, he said.
Trollip said the city’s infrastructure and engineering department would embark on sustainability assessments.
“For people who farm, having an underground well or spring is fantastic, but when you live in a residential area and your property is flooded by water you have a big problem.”
Trollip said Adams had been helpful in filling up municipal pools and had spent “a lot of money in pumping costs”.
“The best way I can foresee this right now is if we can use the facility for fresh drinking water in the same way Grahamstown and Cape Town do, we can also teach people about groundwater that is God-given,” Trollip said.
“[Water] is going to be one of the most scarce resources in the world.
“We have seen what has happened in the city of Cape Town. It has become a super crisis.”
Trollip said Nelson Mandela Bay was not far off, despite being able to stabilise the crisis with the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme being augmented into the city’s water supply.
“We pray for rain and if we use and harness these examples properly, they could be used for the benefit of all the people in the city,” he said.
He hoped other people who had fresh groundwater would come forward.
As of yesterday, the combined average of the city’s major storage supply dams stood at 28.1%.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said he could not dispute Adams’s claim that he had tried for three years to get the municipality to use the water.
He said: “We cannot deny this, but we also cannot confirm it as some officials [who would have knowledge of the issue] are already on leave.
“What I can say is once this issue reached the executive mayor’s desk he took action.”