Expert warns of dysfunctional sewerage systems as taps run dry in Nelson Mandela Bay

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The South African Water Chamber has outlined the effects of taps running dry in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, saying the sewerage system is expected to be negatively interrupted.

The municipality’s maintenance team has discovered that water can no longer be extracted from the Impofu Dam due to low water levels.

The Churchill Dam has reached below the 10% mark. At least 30 suburbs have been affected by the outage.

In the tweet below, the municipality highlights its current water usage stats: 

The Water and Sanitation Department has intervened by invoking Section 63 of the Water Services Act in an attempt to stave off Day Zero for nearly half of the metro.

CEO of SA Water Chamber Benoit Le Roy says the situation could become dire.

“What really amazes me if that the situation has been like this for seven years. Now there is this huge rush to try and keep things going but how does a society actually function without being able to have a shower, for example, if you are used to that? The sewer system is going to become dysfunctional. There are a whole lot of knock-on effects that we haven’t thought about. But what I can’t understand is that the consumption hasn’t been able in the seven years to come down to reasonable levels. We have to put all hands on deck. I know business has been trying to do its thing to reuse water, so I think everybody is getting on but I think it is so late in the day.”

In the video below, Professor Anthony Turton from the UFS Centre for Environmental Management, outlines some interventions that can be implemented to avert Day Zero in the municipality:

“It can take up to four days without water” 

Earlier this month, Nelson Mandela Bay told Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu about some of the main water challenges faced by the community.

During a public engagement meeting that is part of the department’s intervention in the metro, residents complained that their municipality fails to attend to their grievances.

“We have various challenges of water in the ward, the first one is the infrastructure that is ageing here and cause more leaks within the ward. When these leaks are taking place, it takes time for our municipality to resolve the issue, hence the community is getting so frustrated they understand that water is a source of life,” says a resident.

“It can take up to four days without water in this area especially. There’s an area that has a lifetime issue of not having water. The first area is Booysen Park, they stay days or weeks without water, they even have a schedule to have water.”