Over extraction by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality moves Day Zero forward

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL – DA EC Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Leader
06 May 2022 in Press Statements

You can download a sound clip in English and Afrikaans from Retief Odendaal, MPL.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) has been severely over extracting water from our distressed dams on a daily basis, expediting dam depletion.

While the Department of Water Affairs has imposed severe restrictions on bulk water extraction from the Kouga, Churchill and Impofu dams, the Metro has ignored these gazetted directives for months and is now on the brink of depleting dams.

In addition to severely compromising itself, the Metro is also wilfully compromising the Kouga Local Municipality and other roll players by recklessly depleting their primary water sources.

In the current water year, between 1 July 2021 and 30 April 2022, NMBM has utilised 180% of its allowable allocation from the Kouga system.

Within 68 days, the Metro will be unable to extract any bulk water from this system.

Insofar as the Kromme system is concerned, which includes the Churchill and Impofu dams, NMBM is currently extracting three times more than allowed, with current consumption of as much as 90 ML a day. Within 35-45 days, this system is set to be depleted, and the metro will also be unable to extract any further bulk water from this system.

By over extracting water from these systems, the NMBM is not only speeding up Day Zero for its own residents but also for those who are far more reliant on these dams and who do not have the same access to alternative water sources.

Delaying the day that dams run dry will allow water augmentation and drought mitigation projects to be completed and could even move us into the rainy season, which could mean that we may prevent Day Zero entirely.

The Democratic Alliance has written to the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) in a bid to stop NMBM from its continued reckless withdrawal, which will expedite dam failure.

See letter

Bulk water supply remains a national competency, and therefore, DWA is solely responsible for enforcing water allocations and restrictions.

The DA-led Kouga Municipality has worked around the clock to ensure that all water augmentation and drought mitigation projects are completed before Day Zero at our dams is reached.

More than R180 million has been spent securing sufficient groundwater sources and building support infrastructure to reticulate the same through the municipality. Whilst we are confident that these emergency measures will prevent a catastrophe, the sole reliance on groundwater sources cannot be sustainable.

The ongoing drought poses a significant threat to our region’s people and the economy. The continued reckless abstraction of our depleted water sources by NMBM will lead to premature catastrophic dam failure, which is tantamount to willful sabotage.

The DA will do everything in its ability to ensure that national government intervene to not only save NMBM from itself, but also the people of Kouga from the reckless actions of an irresponsible NMB.