There should be little surprise that fresh administrators in City Hall have wasted no time introducing water restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay with immediate effect, given the circumstances the metro finds itself in.
For those fortunate enough to have easy access to running water, there has for far too long been the prevalence of a blazé attitude towards our precarious water situation – evidenced by vast consumption which is way above the municipality’s daily allocation.
The message is simple: Bay residents and businesses must reduce the amount of water they use by 15% in the next two months through less drastic curbs, or face punitive measures.
Although concerns have been expressed about the impact on poorer communities, these immediate, softer restrictions are designed to avoid that.
They are quite clearly the wisest initial route to take to get citizens to wake up to the fact that we are living in a water-scarce environment, and that simple awareness and saving habits need to become second nature to every citizen.
It is by no means a tall order and the appeal by authorities has to be taken seriously if we do not want to see a tougher stance, higher tariffs and a negative effect on industry.
That said, the water leaks crisis – highlighted earlier this week by this newspaper which recorded more than half a million litres going to waste in fewer than six days –needs immediate attention.
Residents will feel justifiably aggrieved at making the effort if it is not matched by municipal action.
With the added weight of a massive infrastructure back log and the expansion of the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme still two years away, this has to be a collective, determined endeavour on the part of the authorities, business and the community.’
If we all take an individual responsibility, the results will speak for themselves.