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Day Zero looming as Metro dams plummet to alarmingly low levels

2020-08-19

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Nelson Mandela Bay is facing Day Zero as the City’s combined dams have plummeted to alarmingly low levels.

Day Zero looming as Metro dams plummet to alarmingly low levels

Nelson Mandela Bay is facing Day Zero as the City’s combined dams have plummeted to alarmingly low levels.

The situation has become so severe with projections that parts of the metro could be without water by March 2021 if the current consumption trend continues unabated. As such, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has reached out to the Municipality to ascertain where it can assist with addressing some of its challenges. It has also begun making calls to its member companies to urgently reduce their daily consumption by 20%.

The city’s biggest dam, the Kouga Dam, currently has a supply of 6.80% of its capacity, the Churchill Dam at 49.48%, the Loerie Dam at 34.27%, the Groendal Dam at 25.59% and the Impofu Dam at 16.71%. They have a combined supply which is 16.93% of their capacity. While almost two-thirds of the city’s water supply is supplied from the Gariep Dam, one-third comes from these Western dams.

Currently, the metro is consuming 290 megalitres (ML) of water per day while targeted consumption should be 250ML. We are still a long way from the targeted 250ML/day

For a city whose economy is anchored by industries that rely on the availability of water for their operations, the current state of the Bay’s water supply places the city in a precarious position. If companies cannot operate in full capacity, this would inevitably lead to job losses and negatively impact the already overburdened local economy.

The situation demands full commitment from both residents and the business community to ensure we all play our part in securing our water supply. As an entity that represents businesses in the Metro, we call on our members, as part of their corporate social responsibility, to consider offering their expertise to the Municipality to assist with some of its challenges. With water leaks also being a problem in some schools in the metro, a company could adopt the school and help with fixing their leaks.

Metro households must now be vigilant and monitor their water consumption to ensure they keep to the restricted amount of 50 litres per day. Businesses should continue to investigate innovative water-saving techniques and infuse them in their daily operations. We would like to commend companies such as Volkswagen South Africa, Isuzu Motors and many others, for being at the forefront of curbing water consumption through innovation.

While the Bay this week received good rains, far more would be required to make a significant impact to our already severely depleted water resources. As such, we need to intensify our water-saving efforts to ensure the city does not reach Day Zero.

 

Nomkhita Mona

CEO, NMBBC

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