Update on water situation in Port Alfred and Bathurst

The present water situation: The Sarel Hayward Dam (supplying water to Port Alfred) and the Golden Ridge Dam (supplying water to Bathurst) are at critically low levels due to drought conditions. Water is no longer flowing over the weir at the Kowie River. Residents are urged to use water sparingly. The use of hosepipes is not permitted, and anyone found using a hosepipe will be subject to a fine.

Fire hydrants have been bled after repairs in some areas to get rid of air in the pipes

Over the past few days, areas of Port Alfred experienced either low water pressure or no water. This was because critical repairs had to be done, requiring water supply to be turned off. The first problem occurred at a critical junction between the balancing dam and the water treatment plant over the past week-end. Next, sand filters became clogged at West Bank pumping station and at East Bank. Water had to be switched off in both areas while repairs were undertaken. These issues have since been repaired and the pumping of water has resumed. Please bear in mind that it will take longer for water pressure to return to normal levels in the high lying areas.

Ultimately, we need good rainfall to improve dam levels. However, since the last update on September 17, the following has been done:

  • Central Boreholes: We are able to report that the central borehole pumps are now operational. Due to drought conditions, the ground water table is low, thus optimal pumping volumes cannot be achieved. Nevertheless water pumped from this source is being fed into the Port Alfred water system;
  • Repairing of leaks: A team has been deployed to repair water leaks throughout Ndlambe;
  • Establishment of a temporary pump and pipeline from the weir to Sarel Hayward Dam: The feasibility of this project is currently being considered as a temporary alternative;
  • RO Plant: The tender to appoint a contractor for the RO plant closes on October 26. The plan is to have the 2Ml seawater RO plant up and running by December 1 2020.
  • Water Schedules: There is a possibility that water scheduling will be re-introduced in Port Alfred if water consumption levels do not improve. Residents will be kept informed in this regard.

We are in a water scarce area – residents are encouraged to install water tanks.

From Ndlambe Municipal Manager Rolly Dumezweni

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