Bay could run dry by next June

Barry Martin
Barry Martin

Dams will be depleted without good catchment area rainfall

Nelson Mandela Bay has about 493 days worth of water stored in its five supply dams.

And it is likely that the overall dam supply will drop below 50% before the end of next month – if it does not rain significantly in the catchment areas.

The halfway mark has been described as a critical event by the city’s political head of infrastructure, engineering and energy, Annette Lovemore.

The amount of water left came to light during a church service at the All Saints Anglican Church in Kabega earlier this month.

Nelson Mandela Bay water and sanitation director Barry Martin stood in front of the congregation and urged everyone to pray for more water.

“We only have about 15 months of water left. I work for the municipality and I am here to ask all of you to pray,” he told the congregation.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said Martin’s statement was correct.

“Should no inflow occur into the catchment dams, then the municipality will be without water in 15 months.”

But the estimated dates could move considerable closer as Mniki said the last 10% of water in the dams was deemed unsafe for extraction and consumption.

Using the metro’s average daily usage of 290Ml as stipulated by Lovemore, this was divided by the latest overall dam level figures which stood at 142 924Ml on Friday.

According to The Herald’s calculations, the metro’s five supply dams should be bone-dry in 492.84 days or one year, four months and one week. The figure excludes any potential rainfall in the catchment area.

This means by June 24 next year the metro will have depleted its entire water supply, several months shy of the highly publicised 2019 completion date of the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme.

Taking into account the 10% unusable water from each dam, the date could be pushed forward by as much as 50 days.

At present, the Kouga Dam is at 36.87% [46 425Ml], Churchill Dam at 32.32% [11 388Ml], Impofu Dam at 72.37% [76 534Ml], Loerie Dam at 37.24% [1 127Ml] and Groendal Dam at 64% [7 450Ml]. This puts the total combined capacity at 50.76%.

Lovemore said should the overall average dam levels drop below 50%, the metro would be forced to implement tougher water restrictions.

Asked whether the municipality had any preventative measures in place to alleviate the dire water situation, Mniki said: “Many domestic users are still using too much water and therefore the key lies in the reduction of water usage in this category.”

Lovemore said previously she had had serious reservations over security of funding for the third phase of the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme.

This, she said, was a result of certain stipulations in the tripartite agreement between the Department of Water and Sanitation, Amatola Water Board and the municipality.

One thought on “Bay could run dry by next June

  • February 20, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I pray that it will rain and soon in the catchment areas. we are in serious trouble water wise all over the country. ideally I recon we need a good few days of a gentle rain throughout the country, so as to be absorbed by the ground as well as water in the catchment area. having a heavy rain will wash away the top layer of soil that is so dry. regardless of how it comes we need the rain.


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