Report on water crisis by Clr Ray Schenk


Ndlambe has been experiencing drought conditions for the past two years. At the end of 2017 the Ndlambe Municipality declared water restrictions in terms of Section 4 of the Water Services Act 108 (of 1997). Notices stipulated the restrictions and was widely publicised. These restrictions have not been rescinded.

At the Port Alfred Ratepayers Association Annual General Meeting in September 2019, a municipal official gave a comprehensive overview of the pending water crisis facing Port Alfred. This was reported in the local press.

At council meetings during 2019 issues pertaining to the water challenges faced by Ndlambe were discussed.

On 24 October 2019 the Premier of the Eastern Cape declared a Provincial State of Disaster in terms of section 41 (1) of the Disaster management Act, number 57 of 2002.

Drought conditions affect the entire Eastern Cape and Port Alfred is not spared.
On 11 November 2019 the Municipal Manager issued a statement urging residents to use water sparingly and that water supply will be shut off for periods of time in order to lengthen the water supply period. Notices were distributed via e-mail, social media, local press and radio.

Further notices from the Municipal Manager, updating the water crisis challenges, were released on 20 December 2019 and 30 December 2019.

Leaflets and water saving tips were distributed ( still being done ) at Malls, shops in Port Alfred and at beaches, highlighting the water crisis.

Port Alfred has as its main water source, the Sarel Hayward dam, augmented by water from the upper reaches of the Kowie river. The Kowie river fresh water flow dried up some months ago and no water has been entering the dam. The dam has reached a low of approximately 5%.

The current peak water consumption is 8,2 megalitres while peak production is 6,6 megalitres which includes the 0,4 megalitres abstracted from the East dunes.

In November 2009, Amatola Water Board was appointed by the Department of Water and Sanitation to implement bulk water supply projects in Ndlambe. Amatola Water started with the construction of a brack water reverse osmosis plant in Port Alfred in 2012.

Estimated cost of this project was R116 million. The project ground to a halt due to contractual disputes between role players.It needs to be noted that this project is not a municipal project and the Ndlambe Municipality will only benefit if and when the project is completed. The project was initiated and managed by Amatola Water. Consideration is being given to change the design from brack water reverse osmosis to Sea water desalination in order to deal with the bulk water challenges.

Ndlambe established a Joint Operations Committee in order to facilitate resolutions with the planning and delivery of water. Plans are afoot to install a desalination unit on the Kowie river to augment the water supply to Port Alfred. A service provider will be appointed within the next week.

Jo-Jo tanks will be installed at strategic points from where residents can draw water. Water tankers will be carting water to designated areas to assist residents obtaining water.
A Hydrologist has been engaged to determine suitable borehole sites.

The Drought Water Tariff has been implemented in order to discourage water wastage.
Leaking and burst pipes are repaired immediately and all public area taps have been sealed to avoid misuse.

Assistant plumbers patrol Nemato relpacing tap and cistern washers as well as reporting leaking water pipes.

Gift of the Givers will do a presentation to the JOC on Monday.

Communication by means of social media, e-mail, loud hailing, local press and radio and SABC television will be increased in order to keep residents informed about the challenges faced during the water crisis.

Ray Schenk
Ward 10 Councillor
Cell: 083 558 3195
e-mail :

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