Nelson Mandela Bay faces prolonged drought despite May rains

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nelson Mandela Bay remains in the grip of a prolonged drought despite good rains falling during the month of May.

More than 180 millimetres fell over large parts of the metro during May, but the more important catchment areas of the supply dams received only half of that.

The metro’s biggest storage dam, the Mpofu Dam, remains out of commission as its level has not risen past the 7% threshold.

The City is also grappling with increased consumption, continuously hovering at 300 megalitres per day against its set daily target of 230 megalitres.

The recent rain in the Nelson Nelson Mandela Bay metro came as a huge relief.

The Kouga, Churchill and Groendal dams have had good inflows, pushing the average dam levels over the 22 percent mark, from a low of 12% in February.

The good rain pushed the day zero scenario out by another fifty days, with the city calculating that it has a water supply of more than 200 days now.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Gary van Niekerk says, ” The recent rains have been really welcomed after our dams suffered greatly under the drought. A lot of areas faced water cuts and it was really a hard time. Although the dam levels have gone up, the metros are still in trouble because the rain didn’t fall in the catchment areas, so it’s still a long way to go before the metros stabilise the water situation.”

Residents have seemingly not heeded the call to continue to conserve water.

Daily water consumption peaks at 300 megalitres per day regularly while the target of 230 megalitres has been set to ensure future water supply.

Van Niekerk says, ” The Mpofu dam is a huge concern for the metros. As you had said it was decommissioned close to two weeks ago, which shows that we are really in trouble there, and the sad part about it is that there is nothing much we can do unless we get more rain, which we are hoping for because of the winter season we are in.”

Residents remain concerned about the water challenges faced by the metro.

One of the residents says,” At the beginning of the year, there was a huge drive for residents to use water sparingly, but over time it has died down, I don’t know if that means we have enough water or our dams are full. Also, another concern has been the quality of water which, I have heard is so bad that it has made certain people in the metro sick.”