Steenhuisen calls for political stability in NMB to get through water crisis

Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader John Steenhuisen is calling for political stability in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro amidst its looming water crisis. Nearly half of the city will experience dry taps by mid-June if it does not rain sufficiently in the catchment areas of its five supply dams.  

The rain that fell this past weekend made no impact on the current dam levels which are sitting at a combined 12%.  Steenhuisen was in the metro to assess the situation first-hand.

The metro is also struggling to contain a high level of consumption. The current daily water usage is 290 megalitres, while the target is 230 megalitres. 

 Steenhuisen says the political instability is hampering efforts to deal with the crisis.

“There is a political instability problem, with this responsibility you don’t have an MMC in charge of this particular portfolio, you don’t have an executive director that’s in charge of this portfolio. You are going into a war with no generals and no leadership and that can only be a bad thing and so I think that the political infighting has got to stop. Nelson Mandela Bay needs one thing, more than anything else and that is stability to be able to get through this crisis. The last thing you need in a crisis is political parties bickering around the edges, this is an emergency and it’s all hands-on deck.”

Delegation working to avoid dry taps 

The metro says a high-level water delegation is currently working to avoid dry taps. The metro’s water distribution manager, Joseph Tsatsire, says reducing consumption is key.

“We have been working with a team from the National Treasury, what you call City Support Programme. They’ve been deployed in the city for almost over a year now and obviously one of the areas which we’re looking at is to benchmark with the City of Cape Town through this experience, what lessons were learned from there and obviously try them and use the same lessons in our environment. We have actually learnt that we have to reduce consumption, that is one of the key areas to actually push day zero away.” 

The Nelson Mandela Metro is working to control the high level of water consumption: 

Plans in place to avoid day zero 

Meanwhile, the Kouga Municipality, which will also be affected when the dams run dry, says there are plans in place to mitigate the crisis.  

The DA’s Tsitsi-Kouga constituency leader, Retief Odendaal, elaborates.

“Kouga Municipality has spent over R200 million on drought mitigation and water mitigation projects, most of those projects are already online. We also have 38 boreholes which were drilled and they basically are all online plus, in addition, we are busy erecting 60 water tanks where people can access emergency water allocation on a daily basis when day zero arrives .”

The combined level of the five supply dams to the metro is currently at 12.38%. Residents are continuously urged to save water.   Report by Yolanda Kambile 

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