Water crisis update

By Mwazvita Machiri

We are all too familiar with the rapidly decreasing dam levels, and yet little has been communicated to the public regarding the state of the current water crisis. This despite the dire consequences for large parts of Makana Municipality which will affect many residents.

The following picture (which has been made available by the GRA and circulated widely via our respective and shared networks) offers water saving tips to assist residents in finding ways to conserve the little water that is available. This followed the decision by Makana Municipality on 4 May 2017 to declare a local state of disaster due to the depletion of raw water resources in Settlers Dam.

Seeking to establish and work toward finding urgent solutions by offering up to date information, the Catchment Management Forum met with Makana Municipality on 15 May at which stage the estimation was that there would be 90 more days of available water. Currently the figure is at an estimated 81 days of available water.

The Director for Water and Infrastructure was able to shed some light on the situation and addressed the updates on water levels including future strategies to curb and ultimately prevent water shortages.

The western part of Grahamstown is facing the biggest crisis as the Settlers Dam (which feeds the water supply to the various suburbs in these areas) level was on 30% available raw water (15 May) and falling to date. Although there is the option of pumping water from the James Kleynhans works, which supplies the Eastern part of the town (which at the moment faces no direct water shortages) it does not pose a lasting solution as the supply would have to be alternated, throttling water to one side of the town in favour of the other for certain periods of the day and/or night. This is due to the already over-capacity use of the available infrastructure to supply the Eastern side with the required daily amounts of water.

The Municipality has been upgrading its Botha’s Hill reservoir to increase supply from 10 Megalitres per day (ML/day) to 20 ML/day. The unit of measure ML/day indicating an equivalent metric unit of capacity equal to a million liters.

Work started in September 2016 with the expected date of completion being June 2017, there have however been some delays to date. Although mention was made of current water restrictions, there is little information available as to the particulars of the restrictions imposed on residents. Makana does however encourage residents to limit their water consumption by keeping their use to a minimum ML/day rate. According to the Director of Infrastructure at Makana they are very aware of the issue, but are constrained financially and the National Department has been promising funding to assist in alleviating the issues and upgrading infrastructure, but they have not received it yet.

As MobiSAM, we strive to keep citizens informed and up to date as to the state of their public services in Makana. We will therefore continue to send information via all our media platforms to ensure that you are able to comply to revised water restriction notices as assist in staving off a serious crisis.

Therefore MobiSAM encourages citizens to report water leaks, whether big or small so that these issue can be logged and addressed in time before they escalate into bigger problems

For more information get and keep in touch with us at:
Radio Grahamstown:
Tuesdays at 15:30
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