The Nelson Mandela Bay metro has only 184 days worth of water supply from its five supply dams. The combined dam levels currently sit at a low of 12.7%.
To mitigate water shortages, an additional 20 water trucks were given to the metro by the department of water and sanitation.
The dam levels continue to drop. Residents are urged to reduce consumption to meet the 230 mega-litres per day target.
The city uses an average of 290-mega litres per day. Affected areas in the metro are serviced by water trucks.
“What we are currently doing is to be able to put a plan in place to ensure that water distribution is not through the conventional way of pipe system but through tanks, where we will install rainwater tanks and fill them up with these trucks and then have collection points where we encourage residents to pick up water. And if we reduce our consumption to 230 mega litres, we should be able to give everyone in the city pipe water but up until we reduce water we will serve water through this method,” says Joseph Tsatsiri, from the Nelson Mandela Bay Water distribution.
Water loss through leaks is also plaguing the city. This challenge is met head-on. “We are actually plugging leaks, in the past seven days we did 1300 leaks and I think we continue to provide resources to be able to deal with leaks, but we are also taking a long-term view. We have an opportunity to build back better, and I think we are going to invest in pipe replacement to ensure that we don’t lose much water in leakage,” Tsatsiri adds.
Preparation for a drought-breaking flood is also underway. Department of Water and Sanitation’s Portia Makhanya says, “We know every drought is broken by floods and we always need to be ready that our stormwater drainage is in an optimal condition so that when we receive those floods events, our strain water drains are able to avoid those floods that will not normally take place.”
The metro remains confident that it will avoid day zero in its red zone which sources its water from four of its five dams. This will be achieved through intermittent water supply disruption.
The metro is also set to add 30-mega litres of water per day to its system when its borehole projects come online at the end of March, combining with the 210-mega litres from the Nooitgedacht scheme.