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Taps close to running dry with Day Zero looming for Nelson Mandela Bay residents

NELSON Mandela Bay Water and Sanitation senior director, Barry Martin, with MMC for Infrastructure and Engineering, Masixole Zinto, at the Churchill Dam. l FILE (African News Service/ANA)

NELSON Mandela Bay Water and Sanitation senior director, Barry Martin, with MMC for Infrastructure and Engineering, Masixole Zinto, at the Churchill Dam. l FILE (African News Service/ANA)

Published May 13, 2022

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CAPE TOWN – Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape is fast approaching Day Zero as its dam levels remain critically low.

The metro is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts and the municipality has stated it cannot meet the demand which is causing various shortages in areas.

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In a statement on its social media platform, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) said its water reticulation is stable in the western suburbs with Chelsea reservoir currently at 17%.

“There is a possibility of water disruptions occurring in the Greenbushes reservoir zone as the reservoir is sitting at 9%. Areas that may be experiencing water disruptions in this zone include Colleen Glen and St Albans.

“The Gelvandale reservoir is also experiencing water disruptions as the reservoir has no water and is at 1%. Areas experiencing water disruptions include Algoa Park, Zwide, New Brighton and parts of KwaZakhele.

“The Straundale zone is stable and no water disruptions will be experienced as the reservoir is at 18%. Water supply in KwaNobuhle is stable with the exception of Reservoir Two zone with levels at 1%.

“Rosedale zone is also currently experiencing water disruptions with the reservoir level at 0% and as a result, the Rosedale area is experiencing water disruptions,” the municipality said.

It said it has deployed water trucks to various locations for residents to collect water.

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This comes as the area has been experiencing below average rainfall over the past few years.

According to eNCA, authorities said people could lose their jobs if the metro is forced to close businesses that cannot operate without water.

Speaking to the broadcaster, Barry Martin from NMBM water and sanitation, said the metro was in its seventh year of below-average rainfall.

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He confirmed the metro may be days away from Day Zero.

“There is about 2.5% of water left in the dams and that will last us for about four to six weeks from now,” he said.

Martin said it is scary as the reality of Day Zero looms.

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If the dams were to dry up in the western part of the metro, the airport will have to shut down as there will be no water to supply to the port and fire-fighting efforts will have to be suspended.

Martin described the possibility of Day Zero as another “lockdown” as experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s going to be very scary. Certain areas will run dry. We will have to put up water tanks scattered over those areas and fill it up with water being trucked it on a daily basis. That is the reality of the situation we are facing,” he told eNCA.

Martin said a “quick fix” to curb this is for residents to cut down on water consumption in the metro.

The metro needs to use 230m litre a day in order to ride the safety wave for about three months until the rain period comes, he said.

During this time, one of the pump stations which has been under construction for the past year can be commissioned and come on stream mid-June.

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