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BUSINESS CHAMBER PLEADS WITH INDUSTRY TO USE WATER SPARINGLY AS CITY’S DAMS REACH LOW LEVELS

2019-09-26

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The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has called on its over 700 member companies to start using water sparingly as the City’s dams have reportedly reached alarmingly low levels.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has called on its over 700 member companies to start using water sparingly as the City’s dams have reportedly reached alarmingly low levels.

As of 26 September 2019, the Bay’s four supply dams namely Kouga, Churchill, Mpofu, Loerie and Groendal have reached an average combined capacity of 36%. To make matters worse, 10% of this current figure is unusable due to sediment build-up, leaving the Metro with little more than 30% of potable water.

What adds to these woes is the lack of clear communication and decisive plan from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on how the situation is being addressed to prevent the City’s dams running into a trickle.  

The month of June 2017 saw the lowest rainfall of the last 20 years with only 2.5mm precipitation for the entire month. November 2015 was the last time our dams were filled to 100% capacity. In August 2019, only 2.2mm had fallen in the Metro, making the lowest since 1985, when 4.7mm of rain fell.

This puts the City on a slippery slope as the seriousness of our water supply has a bearing not only on human life but also to a multitude of businesses across the Metro who rely on water for their operations. These are companies that play a strategic role in the area of job creation and the city’s economic growth.

If there is no constant flow of water in the Metro, this would inevitably lead to a job’s blood-bath as companies would be forced to close shop and leave thousands of breadwinners without their sources of income. For instance, the tourism industry would be hard hit as visitors would shy away from visiting our shores if there is no constant supply of clean water.

This demands that innovation and pragmatism be placed at the forefront of equitable provision and conservation of water.  

As the business community, we understand the impact this has on our member companies and for this reason, we are thus taking a stand and playing our role as the business community in exploring innovative ways of saving water. The City’s dire water situation demands that both households and businesses collectively start taking matters into their own hands and aggressively monitor their daily consumption.

We cannot rely on any of the delayed municipal projects for potable water as the Nooitgedacht water scheme has ground to halt due to a myriad of reasons. This is despite the City receiving R233 million from the National Treasury in April after the Eastern Cape Province was declared a drought-stricken area. Part of this windfall was meant to be spent on water-saving efforts.

However, there has been no aggressive water saving campaigns to sensitise the Bay about the seriousness of this situation. This is despite the City battling years of ailing infrastructure that sees the Metro losing millions of litres of clean water annually.

We will continue to make this call and emphasize the urgency of the matter until we have been appraised by the City on its turnaround strategy.

Nomkhita Mona

CEO

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber     

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