In less than 40 days Day Zero will hit large parts of Nelson Mandela Bay, but still the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality does not believe it necessary to convene a crisis team to address the disaster.
On Monday, 9 May 2022, I was joined by DA Cllr Annette Lovemore in attending a municipal disaster management meeting. Even though Nelson Mandela Bay is facing an unprecedented disaster, this was only the second meeting of its kind this year.
We suggested that the Metro should activate a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) which would ensure daily briefings and reports from all roleplayers regarding the state of the water crisis.
In spite of the looming Day Zero the Disaster Management Unit decided instead to continue meeting only once a week on a Monday.
It is now almost a mathematical certainty that the NMB storage dams will run dry. With no alternative plans in place to provide water to at least a third of the Metro, Day Zero will prove to have disastrous consequences.
Almost none of the water augmentation and drought mitigation projects of the Metro will be completed before Day Zero is reached.
The DA has repeatedly made recommendations regarding innovative ideas to stretch our water resources, but our calls have not been heeded.
The most shocking revelation during the meeting was that if the Metro had not mismanaged its water consumption, the Churchill and Impofu Dams would comfortably have been able to provide water to residents. These dams are the main suppliers of water to the western suburbs of the Metro.
A spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation confirmed that if the Metro had managed its water resources, the Churchill Dam would currently be overflowing, and the Impofu Dam would have in excess of 50% of its capacity available. Due to the Municipality’s dereliction of duty, the Churchill Dam will now run dry within the next 31 days, with the Impofu Dam following suit within 38 days.
The Metro already cannot extract any water from the Kouga Dam, as it has reached its allocated limit from this dam.
The DA has now written to the City Manager to demand that the JOC be activated. A list of questions that require urgent answers has also been included.
The ongoing drought poses a significant threat to our region’s population and to the economy.
The DA will do everything in its ability to assist residents in this time of crisis.