The present water situation: The Sarel Hayward Dam and the Golden Ridge Dam are at critically low levels due to drought conditions and high user consumption. Residents are urged to use water sparingly- every drop counts. The use of hosepipes is not permitted, and anyone found using a hosepipe will be subject to a fine.
At a meeting held between the Mayor, Municipal Manager, Director Vithi (Infrastructure), Mr Klaas (Finance), PARRA, Tourism and Cllr Shenk, the following management plans were discussed:
· Formal Establishment of a JOC: A committee comprising councillors from the greater Bathurst and Port Alfred areas, municipal officials, PARRA, Tourism and Business Forum will be formed to monitor and report back on the current water crisis.
· Establishment of a temporary Pump and pipeline from the Weir to Sarel Hayward Dam: The possibility of setting up a temporary pump above the weir with an above ground pipeline to draw water from the Kowie River directly to the Sarel Hayward Dam is being investigated.
· Eskom and Central Boreholes: Priority is being given to resuming pumping at the central boreholes.
· East Beach Dune Pumps: Humidity within the pump station at the East Bank dune pumps is still problematic, causing the electricity to trip. The installation of fans to minimize moisture in the pumphouse is being investigated.
· Sinking of boreholes: A programme to identify the possibility of additional borehole sites continues.
· Repairing of leaks: A team has been deployed to repair water leaks throughout Ndlambe. Preference will be given to the Port Alfred area, with a focus on indigent households and township areas, where much of the leaks occur.
· Excessive Water Consumption: Billing databases are being revisited with a view to identifying households with excessive water consumption. Where water consumption appears to be unreasonable, investigation will be done to check for water leaks.
· State of Disaster: The Municipal Manager confirmed that Sarah Baartman District Municipality has been engaged and that the matter will be motivated to COGTA. Declaring a state of disaster will assist with emergency procurement.
· R/O Plant: The first advertisement for the tender of a consultant to oversee the R/O projects has been advertised in the Talk of the Town. Closing dates are 2 weeks from advertisement. A follow up advertisement will be placed to appoint contractors. Tender documents are available on the Ndlambe website.
· Thornhill Reservoir: Questions have been raised regarding the new 2.6Ml reservoir under construction at Thornhill. This reservoir is forward planning in anticipation of an extended housing project to be launched by the Dept of Human Settlements within the next 2 years.
· Communication: Every effort is being made to ensure that residents are aware of the water crisis via weekly press releases, social media posts, radio broadcasts and loud hailing through informal settlements.
We are in a water scarce area – residents are encouraged to install water tanks.