As we mentioned in a previous statement, the recent rains have not been sufficient to increase our dam levels. The dam levels have now reached critical levels. As of 8/04/2019, Settler’s and Howieson’s Poort dams were sitting at 7.65 and 29.3% respectively. It is anticipated that unless it rains, we will not be able to get any water from these sources by the end of April. When this happens, no water will be produced from the Waainek Water Treatment plant which supplies the western part of our city.
The municipality has put in place measures to curb water usage and to manage this scarce resource. This includes reducing water flow between the reservoirs in the west to ensure that residents served by the High Level reservoir and those receiving water from the Intermediate and Lower reservoirs received water on a rotational basis for the past six weeks. These measures however could not prevent water drying up as a result of the severe drought. Numerous calls have been made by the municipality urging residents to save water and reduce water usage to 50 litres per person per day to a maximum of four persons per household. Despite all these calls, water usage is currently sitting at 200 to 220 litres per person per day according to water demand management consultants MBB.
Our dams are running dry. This situation demands that we all join hands and work together for the benefit of all. The statements we have been issuing are not meant to blame anyone, but to inform the public about the water crisis we are in. We understand that there are many residents who are doing their best to save water. To them we are very grateful. We need to encourage more people to start saving so we can see a significant drop in water usage.
MBB have been hard at work since September 2018. They have managed to fix massive leaks which improved the supply of water to some areas, particularly in Makhanda East. MBB’s priority is attending to leaks to conserve water. Report leaks to the Makana Municipality and via MobiSAM. The Municipality has a WhatsApp group with MBB to speed up communication about reported leaks. Vandalism is another big challenge facing the municipality. It contributes to water losses and damages our limited resources.
The James Kleynhans Water Works is now producing at full capacity and it is possible to augment water supply to the reservoirs in the West, once Waainek cannot produce any more water. This will not address the water shortage that Makhanda is going to experience, as James Kleynhans is producing 10 ML per day, while water usage in Makhanda is 18ML per day. Water rationing will commence. JoJo tanks will be put up in strategic areas and these tanks will be filed by water from the boreholes already drilled. Residents will be able to get water from these JoJo tanks on the days that their area does not have water.
I want to reiterate that we are thankful to residents who continue to use water sparingly. We are taking steps to improve our billing systems to ensure that the data we collect is accurate. Let us continue to work together to save water.
Hon. Executive Mayor Cllr Mzukisi Mpahlwa.