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One of South Africa’s major cities faces ‘zero day’ water in late May, chamber of commerce warns

There is a high risk that 40% of Nelson Mandela Bay will go without water by the end of May, as the metropolis is rapidly running out of water and no significant rain is currently forecast for the region. indicates the local chamber of commerce.

Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber chief executive Denise van Huyssteen said the city’s dams are at risk of running dry, while many reservoirs will be naturally starved of water due to high demand. “With demand remaining around 280 megaliters per day (MLD), dry taps are inevitable as the Kouga and Kromme systems serving the metro will run dry,” she said.

Van Huyssteen added that pump station outages have become increasingly frequent since December 2021. “Due to the constraints of local dams, the metro has not been able to balance the system by increasing supply from available sources as in the past. This led to frequent mechanical/electrical breakdowns in the water supply.

“Urgent renovations are needed at some of the critical pump stations, and supply efforts need to be intensified. It is essential that the capacity of the dam be extended until the end of June, to pump water from Nooitgedacht to KwaNobuhle and other areas served by the western dams.

High water consumption

Water consumption has remained high in the metro over the past few months and has not decreased despite numerous requests from citizens and businesses to save water.

Daily consumption levels have been tracked at 280MLD, but this needs to be reduced to 230MLD per day, even after the pumping stations have been completed – there will only be 230MLD available until rains replenish local dams , said Van Huyssteen.

She warned that the subway’s water problems could also lead to the potential collapse of the sewage system.

“From the end of May, 40% less water will potentially go to sewage treatment plants, creating a high risk of blockages. This in turn can pose various health risks to communities.

If no significant rain fell by the end of May, the impact on businesses and communities would be severe, she said.

“As part of the mitigation efforts, we urge all businesses and residents to immediately drastically reduce their consumption levels. Along with this, all potential alternatives should be adopted where possible, such as rainwater harvesting, recycling initiatives, water restrictors and other measures.

Water spillage and sabotage

The Department of Water and Sanitation said the Eastern Cape has seen a further drop in water levels this week, with provincial water storage currently standing at 66.4%.

“Algoa’s water supply system with dams supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay area is at a very low 13.6% this week, down slightly from 13.9% last week. The Kouga Dam which feeds Nelson Mandela Bay is also very low at 13.5% this week,” he said.

The Herald newspaper reports that the city is now considering ‘water loss’ to help preserve water levels, while area schools closed at 11:00 due to lack of water and sanitation problems.

While the metropolis is facing a long-standing water problem, local elected officials have also blamed sabotage for the most recent problems. This follows a number of incidents of vandalism to vent valves, including a main water supply line.

“I want to make this public. Apart from vandalism, I mean it is acts of sabotage, and the investigation unit of the safety and security department must take measures,” said Mayco Member for Infrastructure and Engineering John Mitchell. GroundUp.

The municipality had to turn off the water to residents several times to give engineers time to repair vandalism on the pipeline at the Nooitgedagt sewage treatment plant.

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