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Nelson Mandela Bay unable to extract water from critically low Impofu Dam

The level of Impofu Dam on the Kromme River has dropped dramatically.
The level of Impofu Dam on the Kromme River has dropped dramatically.
Image: HearaldLIVE/Eugene Coetzee

The critically low water level at the Impofu Dam has made it impossible for the city to extract water from it, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality said on Thursday.

This has led to deficits in the city’s reservoirs and caused intermittent or no supply to large parts of the municipality, reports HeraldLIVE.

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said there were water shortages in a number of areas across the Bay,  due to the drought and the drastic drop in the combined average level of dams supplying the region to 29%.

The Impofu level was sitting at 16.71 % on Monday.

The DA has, meanwhile, called for an urgent council meeting for the water crisis to be thrashed out.

It has also called for water experts who helped the City of Cape Town avoid Day Zero to assist the municipality in coming up with an urgent solution.

At a media conference on Thursday, DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga claimed the municipality failed to tender for a barge to allow it to access the last water at Impofu dam, although it had known of the situation there for six months.

Mniki detailed the reasons for the water cuts in parts of the Bay area in a statement.

“Due to a continued increase in consumption and the ongoing drought in the metro and Eastern Cape, one of our main supply dams, Impofu Dam, has reached a critically low level, making it impossible to extract water from it,”  he said.

“This scenario has resulted in water deficits in our distribution system.”

The current average metro consumption was about 300 megalitres (ML) per day, he said.

'This is as compared to the system input which is about 270ML.

“The resultant deficit of 30ML has caused the depletion of the capacity of most of our reservoirs and is causing intermittent or no supply to most of the areas in the metro.”

Mniki said the areas affected were Walmer Heights, Walmer, Charlo, Newton Park, Cotswold, Fairview, North End, Sydenham, Gelvandale, Algoa Park, New Brighton, Mill Park and parts of Zwide.

He said the metro had organised water tankers to be deployed to the Greenacres Hospital parking lot, Dis-Chem in 2nd Avenue, Newton Park, Builders Warehouse in Walmer Heights and Moregrove Primary School in Cotswold as well as in Fairview, Tambo Village, KwaNobuhle Area 11 and the Mahashe and Kingston sections of Joe Slovo.

The metro was appealing to all residents to use water extremely sparingly and to adhere to strict measures, he said.

“Water usage must be restricted to a maximum of 50l per person per day.

“Bricks or filled cooldrink bottles must be placed in the cistern of every toilet to reduce the flush volume.

“Household toilets must be flushed with non-municipal water, for example grey/ used, rain or borehole water.

“Water-efficient shower heads only must be used in showers.”

For more information on the water tankers, residents should call the municipal service delivery call centre at 080-0205-05, he said.

Earlier, Bhanga said the water supply situation was spiralling out of control.

“This situation has come about not because of a shortage of funds but because of an inability to plan, to manage resources and to communicate clearly with residents.”

Flanked by the party’s Bay caucus leader, Jonathan Lawack, and DA councillor Masixole Zinto, Bhanga said although the DA was not in government in Nelson Mandela Bay, it was determined to be proactive and had organised a briefing from metro water and infrastructure officials on Wednesday.

The figures presented showed swift action was needed, he said.

“The DA will now write to the speaker to urgently convene a special council meeting. 

“We will demand answers on why only 20% of the infrastructure budget has been spent and not a single cent of the R200m disaster grant given to the metro.”

He said the metro had known about the Impofu situation since August.