Update on water situation in Ndlambe

The present water situation: Unabated drought conditions and consistently high user consumption have contributed to dire water shortages, particularly in Port Alfred and Bathurst. The recent rains raised the level of the Golden Ridge Dam in Bathurst, but had no measurable effect on the Sarel Hawyard Dam in Port Alfred, as water flowing over the weir is negligible.
A formal JOC, comprising the Mayor, Municipal Manager, Ndlambe Infrastructure Directorate, PARRA, Councillors, Tourism and Business Forum has been established to find solutions to the current water crisis. In addition, a meeting of independent and highly skilled technical experts also met on Monday, complimented by the Infrastructure Department to find ways to raise the capacity of water production for Port Alfred. This technical team intend to complete an audit of the water infrastructure system for Port Alfred, identifying problems and making recommendations as to how water production can be optimised. Based on these findings, the Municipal Manager will lead procurement processes to remedy any shortcomings.

Area reports are as follows:

• Port Alfred: The Sarel Hayward Dam is at 7% capacity. The recent rains had no impact on water flow to the weir, thus water cannot be pumped from the weir to the Sarel Hayward dam at present. The central belt boreholes and East Bank dune pumps are not producing optimally, and ways are being sought to optimise water production from these alternative sources. Based on current consumption levels, Port Alfred has water reserves for 18 – 20 days. To mitigate taps drying up, a strict water schedule will be introduced as from 23 October 2020.

With regard to the R/O plant, tender documents for the appointment of a contractor close on 26th October 2020.
There has been a request to extend the tender date, however this has been rejected. Bids will take approximately 3 weeks to assess before the contractor is appointed, therefore work will realistically only commence on the plant mid November and it is hoped that the plant will be in operation by the end of December 2020.

• Bathurst: The Golden Ridge dam is at 25% capacity – recent rains raised the level from a previously recorded 15% to the present 25%.

• Seafield: The Mt. Wellington dam is 100% full. At present the dam is not being utilized, as repairs and maintenance work is being undertaken. Boreholes from the van Rooyen farm are supplying water for current consumption, and should the boreholes cease to produce 100% requirement, the dam can be utilized for any shortfall.

• Kenton/Bushman’s: Mr Mabulu of Amatola Water confirmed that the R/O plant was not producing the expected amount of water. The service provider has been requested to find solutions to the problem as it is believed that there are design faults in the plant. Mr Mabulu confirmed that he would request Amatola to formally respond to these issues.

• Alexandria: Mr Stephen Fick reported that leaks in the older infrastructure on the Cannon Rocks / Boknes line is being monitored. The situation at Alexandria is more critical where 1.2Ml per day is presently being produced. A contractor has been appointed and will be on site by 26 October, with repairs expected to be completed by 18 December.

Way forward:
1.1 A water schedule has been introduced for Port Alfred.
1.2 Amatola Water will report back on the Kenton plant by next week.
1.3 JOC will reconvene every Wednesday at 10.00 am

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

Sunshine Coast Tourism for Ndlambe Municipality

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