Mandela Bay Metro still gripped by drought despite recent rainfalls

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Good rain falls over the past two and half months have alleviated the water supply anxiety for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. The City now has more than 500 days’ worth of water in its five supply dams after the runoff from last week-ends showers reached the dams.

But the drought is not broken yet and the City is at pains to implore consumers to keep saving water, a message that is seemingly not being heeded.

Since the start of May, dam levels have risen substantially with the Groendal dam supplying Kariega full to capacity up from 13% five months ago.

The Kouga dam is at 40% currently from the 12.5% in February, while the Churchill dam is at 54%.

Nelson Mandela Bay Director of water distribution, Joseph Tsatsire, says despite the improved situation, consumers are still using too much.

The metro is targeting a daily consumption of 230 megalitres per day.

“Over the past weeks, we have received some rainfall in the City and obviously they’ve contributed to lifting our dams from at least 12% to about 31% combined. We are very cautious to warn residents that we haven’t broken the drought yet. We continue to urge consumers to reduce consumption and currently one of our biggest dams Impofu is still just above 8% and this is one of the biggest dams that supplies the Nelson Mandela Metro. Currently our consumption is sitting on an average around 290-300 megalitres on a day to day basis and obviously this is not sustainable for us to be able to continue to provide water to everyone in the city uninterrupted.”

Drought persists in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro despite recent rainfall:

Since the drought started biting hard, residents have adapted their lifestyle to ensure the taps don’t run dry.

“When I brush my teeth, I don’t leave the taps running, I pour in a cup. Also when taking a shower, I make sure I don’t take long baths, one minute.”

“Normally, I used to take my car to the car wash each and every day so basically now I was it twice a week and I don’t use tap water I use the bucket to wash my car.”

One of the City’s main supply dams, the Impofu dam, is still out of service due to its low level.

It has risen two percentage points since the rain started to 9%, but it is too low for any water to be extracted. -Report by Nandipha Plaatjie