WATCH | Six hours without water for Kouga municipality as water-shedding implemented due to low dam levels
'Nelson Mandela Bay is using 30-million litres per day more than what they are meant to' — and Kouga bears the brunt, says deputy mayor
The Kouga region in the Eastern Cape has implemented water-shedding. The department of water and sanitation has cut off supply from the Kouga Dam because dam levels are now too low to supply water to surrounding areas.
Residents, schools and business owners have had to find alternative ways of doing business. But for those who don't have the finances to invest in new rainwater harvesting systems, things are looking grim.
The department of water and sanitation has cut the supply chain off from the Kouga/ Impofu dam, which supplies Nelson Mandela Bay and the Kouga region with water. This has resulted in the Kouga municipality now implementing water-shedding, where residents will experience dry taps between 10am and 4pm every day.
There are already six areas with no access to water at all because the water pressure is so low that it won't come out of the tap, such as Kwanomzamo township in Humansdorp. Trucks have had to deliver water to the affected areas and it is not known how long residents will be without water.
Kouga municipality deputy mayor Hattingh Bornman blamed Nelson Mandela Bay for allegedly using more than double their daily water limit.
"Nelson Mandela Bay is using 30-million litres per day more than what they are meant to be using," he said. "The experts say if everyone only uses what they are allowed to use, we wouldn't be in this situation and there would still be enough water going around."
He added: "We have a new policy whereby all new buildings must have a water harvesting system approved by the municipality through their plans.
"We have tried to postpone the implementation of water-shedding, because there are risks like damaged infrastructure when the water returns, but we have been left with no choice."
Bornman said below-average rainfall throughout the year is a major contributing factor to the water crisis.
"Then also the over-extracting of water by Nelson Mandela Bay," he said.
"There is old infrastructure and damaged pipes, but that can be dealt with and fixed."
Bornman was concerned about tourism in Jeffreys Bay being affected, particularly with the World Surfing League's Jbay Open around the corner. "We can't afford to tell people not to come. Its crucial for our economy."
"I would say please come, just be aware of the water situation and help us save water."
The Kouga Municipality has spent "millions" on drilling boreholes, but the water isn't ready for human consumption yet.
"Jo-jo tanks have been placed in high-lying areas that don't have any water at all. There are roaming water tankers driving through communities on an hourly basis."
Bornman added that the SAPS, department of education and department of health are aware of the situation in Kouga and are on high alert.
"Water-shedding isn’t a long-term solution. We are hoping it will only last eight weeks but even after that, we will have to remain water conscious regardless."
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