Water has been an issue in Ndlambe for a long time, and independent water consultant for the municipality, Justin Wilmot, explained the problems associated with supplying water to the area at the combined Port Alfred Business Forum and Sunshine Coast Tourism meeting that took place at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club last Thursday.
Wilmot gave the worst-case scenario if residents do not restrict their water consumption, but also pointed out economical ways that the current situation can be rectified – solutions he has presented to Ndlambe Municipality, Amatola Water and other parties.
“When it comes to water there are really only three issues; Supply, including quality, delivery/infrastructure and consumption,” Wilmot told the audience of around 60 people.
The flow of the Kowie River to the Ndlambe area begins in Makhanda (Grahamstown), and it then makes a long trip through a number of weirs and dams before it reaches Waters Meeting, where the Sarel Hayward Dam is located as a storage facility.
Water is pumped to the balancing dam (that holds around 65 megalitres. At this point there are two choices; excess water is kept and stored in the balancing dam where it settles before being pumped to the treatment works and into the reticulation system, or, when there is a shortage, the balancing dam is bypassed and the water flows straight to the treatment works in Nemato.
Even with recent rains, and the water flowing down from the Belmont, it still needs to fill every single weir and dam in its path before it gets to the weir at the very top of the Kowie River.
When there is excess it gets pumped back to the Sarel Hayward Dam, while the bulk is pumped to Port Alfred through an asbestos cement pipe.
For more on this story, see this week’s Talk of the Town.