Editorial: Play your part to save every drop

Council’s latest appeal to residents to conserve water in Nelson Mandela Bay has a distinct air of concern about it.

The facts of the matter are pretty despairing – the overall picture is bleak and not a lot has happened to suggest we can expect any relief from the drought soon.

Dam levels remain under pressure and, sadly, last month’s big rains made little impact.

So parched was the ground that all the anticipated runoff in the catchments was simply soaked up.

As a result, dam levels failed to rise above the collective 30% mark, meaning they are currently the lowest in nearly three decades.

And with a hot summer on the way and high season for visitors and tourists about to start, the alarm bells are going off even louder.

What it means is that, at current extraction, we’ll have enough water until August.

After that the only supply would be from the Nooitgedacht scheme, which provides us with about half our water needs now.

The metro is worried and apart from emphasising the regulations governing use of municipal water for residents, officials are using the bylaws to force car wash businesses to recycle 60% of their water.

If any of these businesses fail to comply by the time our dam levels reach 25% of available capacity, they will be shut down.

Needless to say, a devastating situation for owners and their workers.

Of course, the biggest problem in this saga is the municipality’s inability to get a grip on leaks.

Bulk infrastructure, as we know, is falling apart and will take serious funding and years of work to replace.

In the meantime, the city knows it desperately needs to hire more plumbers.

Until then, the onus falls on every individual to save every drop because in eight months’ time, nothing else will matter more to us than this crisis.

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