Urgent call to cut water use as Day Zero hits Makhanda


Settler’s 18 August 2017. Photo: Sue Maclennan

The municipality has made an urgent call for residents to cut their water use to 25 litres per person per day, as Day Zero finally hits home. In a public statement, Makana Municipality today announced that the dams supplying the western parts of Makhanda have reached a level where they are too low to pump.

“Due to the continuous drought conditions, it is with regret that the municipality has to inform residents that we have reached the point where we can no longer extract water from either Howieson’s Poort (HP) (11.2%) or Settlers Dam (6.3%) which supply the western side of Makhanda,” Makana’s Communications Department shared.

“Three boreholes have been connected to the Waainek Water Treatment Works and they can produce a maximum of 0.5 Mℓ a day. The balance of water for the western side is being supplied by the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works.”

Settler’s 19 August 2018. Photo: Sue Maclennan

This means that the James Kleynhans is now supplying water to both Makhanda East and West.

Waainek Water Treatment Works normally produces 8 megalitres a day. The city uses this, along with the 13 megalitres a day produced by the James Kleynhans treatment works, totalling 21 megalitres a day. This is around the contents of eight-and-a-half Olympic sized swimming pools.

From today, for as long as the three boreholes continue to yield 0.5 megalitres a day, the city will be sharing 13.5 megalitres – a little over half of that quantity.


To ensure that all residents have some water under these circumstances, the system had to be managed in such a way that low water pressure as well as intermittent supply would be experienced in some instances, Makana said.

Settler’s 23 May 2019, 7%. Photo: Kathryn Cleary

“This situation will continue until we can pump from Howieson’s Poort or Settlers Dam. We can only start pumping from these dams once it rains and dam level at HP has recovered enough to start the pump.”

Residents were urged to cut water usage to 25ℓ per person per day to a maximum of 100ℓ per household.

Amatola Water’s contract to manage Makhanda’s bulk water supply ended last week and the entity is not currently operating in the municipality.

In a post shared on social media, Amatola’s Area Operations Manager Chris Nair said, “That time has come when Howiesonspoort dam has run dry ie. cannot run pumps due to cavitation… On top of this, there are critical shutdowns needed for the upgrades that are under way at James Kleynhans… So folks, this is where responsible usage of the limited water resources need to be exercised by every single resident and entity. This available 12 to 13 Ml of water per day needs to be shared equitably in all areas in Grahamstown. Unless heavy rains come or emergency supplementation of water is added to the system we all have to be patient and live with the limited supply till the plant is upgraded. Godspeed, folks. It’s going to be a long tough road ahead.”

Settlers at 6.3% can no longer be pumped. This means that for the direct supply to the west side of Makhanda, Day Zero is here. Water from the eastern supply will be shared across the city. Photo: Kathryn Cleary




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