water sheddding Nelson Mandela Bay water crisis

[FILE] PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 11 2018: The Churchill dam is seen during Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani’s visit after heavy rains in the area on September 11, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)

Day Zero expected before Christmas in Nelson Mandela Bay unless consumption is reduced – report

‘We are weeks away from the dams running dry, rather than months,’ said Dr Giselle Kaiser. The combined dam levels in the area are currently below 12 percent.

water sheddding Nelson Mandela Bay water crisis

[FILE] PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 11 2018: The Churchill dam is seen during Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani’s visit after heavy rains in the area on September 11, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)

Dr Giselle Kaiser, the water expert sent to Nelson Mandela Bay by the government to stave off ‘Day Zero’, said the taps in the Eastern Cape metro will run dry before Christmas unless residents reduce their water consumption drastically.

DAY ZERO IS ‘WEEKS AWAY’ SAYS KAISER

According to The Herald, on 30 October, the NMB Metro currently uses 300 megalitres (MI) per day and this must be reduced to 230 MI to prevent disaster.

Kaiser – who was also sent to guide the City of Cape Town through its water crisis – told Daily Maverick 168 that the combined dam levels in the area are just under 12 percent now. Kaiser said businesses must reduce their water consumption by 20 percent, while individuals must cut their use by either 20 or 40 percent depending on where they lived.

“We are weeks away from the dams running dry, rather than months … and let me add that I am surprised that not more people are motivated by this. You will not be able to flush your toilets. For months. We will have to use groundwater to flush the sewer system. It will be bad,” said Kaiser.

Kaiser said individuals in NMB Metro used more water than people did in Cape Town during its worst-ever water crisis.

She added that people in the area were fatigued and think that the municipality is bluffing about the urgency of the situation because three years ago the municipality started a campaign to restrict residents to 50 litres per day.

“What awaits us is too awful to conceive [of]. I don’t understand why people are not panicking. We need to panic. It will stop life in Nelson Mandela Bay as we know it,” said Kaiser to DM 168.

NOOITGEDACHT SCHEME

The water shortages in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are compounded by the failure to complete its low water supply emergency plan. The third phase of the Nooitgedacht Low-Level Water Scheme would provide the metro with between 170 to 210 MI per day but because the Amatola Water Board failed to pay the contractor on time.

Kaiser said the Nooitgedacht project is now only expected to bolster the Metro’s water supply in May 2022.

In late October Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Nqaba Bhanga declared a dispute over the delays to construction, according to City Press. He wants the municipality to take control of the project from the government-appointed implementing agent – Amatola.

“The construction of phase 3 of Nooitgedacht Water Scheme is currently stalled due to a payment dispute. In spite of our bona fide efforts to find a reasonable resolution to the current impasse, we hereby formally notify you that we are declaring a dispute with the department of water and sanitation in this matter,” Bhanga reportedly wrote in a letter to Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu on 27 October.

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