Due to ongoing drought conditions in parts of the country, the Department of Water and Sanitation has advised the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to increase water restrictions from 25% to 30%.
“The decreasing dam levels throughout Sarah Baartman District Municipality impact on the water supply to Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality as the municipality relies on water sourced from these municipalities. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has advised the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality to further increase water restrictions from 25% to 30%,” said the department.
This follows Monday’s meeting between Minister Gugile Nkwinti and mayor of the metro Athol Trollip. The department said the meeting coincided with the start of Imbizo Focus Week which will run until 15 July.
Nooitgedacht water project
Trollip said the Nooitgedacht water project has been a great boost to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. Trollip added that there are 48,000 households that don’t have water meters, which makes it difficult for the municipality to measure water usage and adhere to water restrictions.
Minister Nkwinti stated that the Nooitgedacht water project should be prioritised so as to address water challenges in these areas. He also mentioned that desalination and usage of ground water would be imperative in future water saving initiatives as there is insufficient rain due to climate change.
Held in Port Elizabeth, the meeting also included inputs from the mayor of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality Eunice Kekana.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro and Sarah Baartman District Municipality have been badly affected by the current drought.
Since the Sarah Baartman District Municipality is one of the major agricultural regions in the country, the drought, said the department, extends beyond the basic provision of water and has the possibility to have large economic effects on the country.
Some of the challenges faced by the municipality, said Kekana, include vandalism of infrastructure, water losses and ageing infrastructure.
Some of the projects underway in Sarah Baartman District include:
- Upgrading of water mains and valves in Kouga,
- James Kleinhans bulk water supply in Makana, and
- Ndlambe Dam bulk water supply.
The meeting with the two mayors included technical discussions regarding water supply, infrastructure maintenance and development, institutional support and recruitment of skilled as well as capable workers within local municipalities.
Nkwinti urged municipalities to reassess the capabilities of their workforce, especially in areas such as engineering.
The DWS appealed to communities to use water sparingly while also urging them to use grey water where possible as well as report water leaks timeously.