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Desperate campaign to save water as Mandela Bay grinds towards day zero

Urgent pleas to Eastern Cape residents: 'Use no more than 50 litres a day'

13 June 2022 - 16:35
Nelson Mandela Bay residents are being asked to cut their water consumption to 50 litres per person per day. Stock photo.
Nelson Mandela Bay residents are being asked to cut their water consumption to 50 litres per person per day. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/WEERAPAT KIATDUMRONG

As day zero looms large for Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, urgent appeals are going out to the thousands of residents who will be impacted.

In mass appeals through public posters, online platforms and even mobile loudhailers, residents are being asked to cut their water consumption to 50 litres per person per day.

The metro’s director of water distribution, Joseph Tsatsire, said while they were not implementing water-shedding, as was being done by the nearby Kouga municipality, almost half the metro was already experiencing water shortages in “red areas” — places fed by the western dams that are fast running dry.

He said the metro’s water consumption was 278 megalitres per day, while there was only 230 megalitres available, mainly from the Gariep Dam.

“The metro will experience water disruption or intermittent supply because the available resources are less than the usage. It means that if the consumers reduce consumption to 230 megalitres the metro will avoid the so-called day zero in the red zone,” Tsatsire explained.

A map showing parts of Nelson Mandela Bay affected by water shortages.
A map showing parts of Nelson Mandela Bay affected by water shortages.
Image: Supplied

In their efforts to encourage consumers to reduce their water usage, a campaign was launched calling for people to use just 50 litres per person per day.

“This is what 50 litres looks like,” states the metro’s Bay Water Savers site, laying out the recommended rationing process. This equates to:

  • 3l for drinking;
  • 9l for two toilet flushes per day;
  • 1l for cooking and food preparation;
  • 9l for a sink of water to wash dishes or one dishwasher load every three days;
  • 2l for brushing teeth and washing hands;
  • 10l for one load of washing per week;
  • 4l for household cleaning; and
  • 1l for pets.

If consumers are unable to drastically reduce their consumption to this level, demand will outstrip supply and the taps will run dry.

As of Monday, the Impofu Dam had dried up, while the Churchill Dam was 11 days away from being emptied. The Loerie Dam had 37 days of supply to go.

There have been 16 water collection points set up around the metro and 109 suburbs have been listed as already affected.

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