Cape Town - With South Africa facing drought and 2017 declared as one of the top three hottest years, Nelson Mandela Bay dam levels have hit an all-time low of 26.94 percent.
According to the Bay's member of the mayoral committee for Infrastructure and Engineering, Masixole Zinto, the recorded levels - which supply drinking water to the metro - are at the “lowest ever”, as compared to 31 percent that was recorded in 2010.
“Although the City is putting all the efforts to cut water loss and usage, lack of rain has not helped," she says.
Of the four major dams supplying the Bay, Kouga dam is at a critical 9.56% of its capacity.
See table below:
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In terms of reducing water in the metro, stricter measures have been introduced and millions of rand have been pumped into improving water distribution infrastructure and clamp down of water leaks.
“More plumbers have been employed, with private sector resources pulled in to augment,” Zinto adds.
Zinto says the metro is currently busy with water saving initiatives, where schools, businesses and churches are an area of focus.
During the recent summer season, the Bay took a decision to close some of the city's swimming pools, and Zinto says the Executive Mayor officially opened a borehole in Motherwell Cemetery where people, more especially water-related business are allowed to extract water for free.
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In addition, the metro says the Infrastructure and Engineering department will assist the car wash businesses from disadvantaged areas by delivering borehole water to their businesses, relieving the burden from municipal taps.
An urgent meeting by Infrastructure and Engineering is expected to be held at the end of next week to discuss and decide on more restrictions to be put in place.
“The Coalition government views the current crisis in a very serious light and calls upon the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to come together on this water-saving mission,” Zinto adds.
Level 6 water restrictions in the Cape
The Western Cape has also been hard hit by water shortages with dams at critically low levels.
With level 6 water restrictions officially in place, each household is restricted to a daily water usage limit of 87 litres per person per day - that's 10 500 litres of water per month.