Dam levels in Makhanda remain critically low

Drought. Picture: AFP / File / Ziniyange Auntony

Drought. Picture: AFP / File / Ziniyange Auntony

The municipality continues to urge residents to save water and reduce water usage.

Dam levels in Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, are at a critical level despite the rain. The Howiesonspoort dam level is at 29.3% and the Settlers dam at 7.6%.

The Makana Municipality said that if the Settlers dam level drops to 7.4% it would not be possible to extract water, however pumping from Howiesonspoort to Waainek Water Works would continue until those pumps started cavitating as well.

Thereafter, the Waainek Water Works that is supplying water to Makhanda West will not be able to produce water for residents in that area. Municipality spokesperson Anele Mjekula said if there was no good rainfall by the end of April, no water will be produced by Waainek.

“It is anticipated that by end of April 2019, no water will be produced by Waainek. The municipality has put measures in place to curb water usage and to manage the scarce resource in the west.”

This includes reducing water flow between the reservoirs in the west to ensure that residents receiving water from the high-level reservoir and those receiving from the intermediate and low reservoirs received water on a rotational basis for the past six weeks.

Mjekula said these measures could however not prevent water drying up in the dams as a result of the drought. The municipality continued to urge residents to save water and reduce water usage to 50 litres per person to a maximum of four people in a household.

Mjekula said that despite the urgent call by the municipality, water usage had not reduced and was currently standing at 200 to 220 litres per person.

“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 10ml per day, whilst water usage in Makhanda is 18ml per day.”

The municipality said that water rationing would commence and JoJo tanks would be put up in strategic areas. These tanks would be filled by water from already drilled boreholes. Residents would be able to get water from these JoJo tanks on days when their taps run dry.

-African News Agency

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