Explore boreholes, desalination, metro told
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.