Ex­plore bore­holes, de­sali­na­tion, metro told

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Siyam­tanda Capa ca­pas@ti­soblack­star.co.za

Wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion min­is­ter Gugile Nk­winti has ad­vised the Nel­son Man­dela Bay mu­nic­i­pal­ity to fo­cus its re­sources on bore­holes and de­sali­na­tion projects.

The advice comes as dam lev­els dropped to 19.27% this week, lead­ing to stricter wa­ter re­stric­tions.

Nk­winti was in the Sarah Baart­man district to dis­cuss the drought with var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing Nel­son Man­dela Bay mayor Athol Trol­lip.

Sarah Baart­man district mu­nic­i­pal­ity mayor Eu­nice Kekana, along with may­ors from other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties within the district, were also in at­ten­dance.

Wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion spokesper­son Sput­nik Ratau said Nk­winti also said the de­part­ment of wa­ter & san­i­ta­tion would look at how the con­struc­tion of phase three of the Nooitgedacht low-level wa­ter scheme could be fast-tracked.

“Since Sarah Baart­man district mu­nic­i­pal­ity is one of the ma­jor agri­cul­tural eco­nomic re­gions in the coun­try, the drought ex­tends be­yond the ba­sic pro­vi­sion of wa­ter and has the pos­si­bil­ity to have large eco­nomic ef­fects on the coun­try,” Ratau said.

He said the dis­cus­sions on Mon­day also at­tempted to find ways to aug­ment the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ wa­ter sup­ply.

“The meet­ing in­cluded tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing wa­ter sup­ply, in­fras­truc­ture main­te­nance and de­vel­op­ment, in­sti­tu­tional sup­port and re­cruit­ment of skilled as well as ca­pa­ble work­ers within lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” Ratau said.

Also on the agenda was the ca­pac­ity of in­fras­truc­ture de­part­ments in the var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“The is­sues that were raised were around wa­ter avail­abil­ity in the area be­cause there has been no rain and we are still deal­ing with the rem­nants of the drought.

“We want to look at what other op­tions we have that can as­sist as we try to aug­ment the avail­abil­ity of wa­ter.

“The speedy con­struc­tion of the Nooitgedacht phase three is im­por­tant be­cause it will not only as­sist the Sarah Baart­man district mu­nic­i­pal­ity but it will also as­sist the Nel­son Man­dela Bay metro,” Ratau said.

He said the may­ors had ap­pre­ci­ated Nk­winti’s visit.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were ap­pre­cia­tive of the fact that there is an in­ter­est in the sit­u­a­tion in which they are in.

“They were also ap­pre­cia­tive of the fact that the min­is­ter came to visit as they had re­quested that he must come and en­gage with them,” Ratau said.

He said the plans were de­pen­dent on bud­get avail­abil­ity.

Trol­lip said the meet­ing was cru­cial as it showed that the drought af­fected not only the metro but all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Sarah Baart­man district.

“The min­is­ter iden­ti­fied that the com­ple­tion of Nooitgedacht phase three and the in­crease in vol­ume of wa­ter util­is­ing cur­rent phase two and in­creased vol­ume of treated wa­ter from the Grass­ridge adap­ta­tion is crit­i­cal.”

Trol­lip said fur­ther aug­ment­ing the city’s wa­ter sup­ply through Nooitgedacht would in­crease vol­ume from 140kl to 210kl/day.

“The min­is­ter has ap­pealed to us to do all we can to pre­vent [a catas­tro­phe].”

Trol­lip said he had also asked for Nk­winti to help the city get the nec­es­sary Trea­sury sup­port to short-cir­cuit sup­ply chain man­age­ment re­quire­ments due to the emer­gency drought sit­u­a­tion.

“The min­is­ter was very fo­cused on re­duc­ing non-rev­enue wa­ter losses by curb­ing leaks and man­ag­ing abuse through proper man­age­ment,” he said.

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