Despite all the measures implemented by Makana Municipality to alleviate the water crisis, the prolonged drought continues to have a negative effect on supplying water to residents. The measures implemented by the municipality since January 2019 are:
- Water loss management through leaks repairs, zone and domestic meter installation for realisation of revenue enhancement;
- Repair, replacement, upgrading and expansion of telemetric systems at various reservoirs;
- Refurbishment and replacement of pump sets and equipment (i.e pumps, motors, electricity supply, inlet screen valves etc) at pump stations cleaned, refurbished and secured two reservoirs;
- Facilitated and managed the transfer of water from the east to the west to mitigate the water crisis;
- Attended to emergencies/ crisis interventions that affected water supply.
At the Water Joint Operations Committee (WJOC) on 14 January 2020 the water crisis was discussed at length. The water situation in Makhanda is precarious but stable. The reason for the municipality not being able to supply water to all areas at all times, especially the high-lying areas is because the Waainek Water Treatment Works cannot be used for water supply to the west. The Howieson’s Poort Dam’s level is at 1% and Settlers Dam at 3%, the boreholes produces 0.5 megalitres a day and this yield is diminishing very quickly.
The James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works is now supplying water to the whole of Makhanda at 12 megalitres a day. It is a challenge to balance the water system with water usage remaining higher than 12ML per day.
We are also struggling to get enough water transferred from Botha’s Hill to the Western side to enable us to get intermediate reservoirs to such a level in order for us to pump water to the high level reservoir. In the past, these reservoirs were fed by Waainek Water Treatment Works. These reservoirs supply most of Rhodes University, Cradock Heights, Hill 60, the army base, and Correctional Services with water.
Considering the above, the WJOC had no alternative but to resolve that from 7 February, water will be shut off from Friday evenings at 7pm until Monday mornings at 8am. This will continue until there is enough water in the dams for the Waainek Water Treatment Works to become operational again. This weekend, the standard procedure of closing water off at 8pm on Saturday and opening on Monday morning at 8am will still be in effect. This means that over the following weekends, we will not have water until we get decent and persistent rains.
Loadshedding affects our ability to pump water and the Municipality is in the process of requesting Eskom to exclude the James Kleynhans Water Works from future load-shedding. Furthermore, several Jojo tanks have been acquired and installed; their locations will be communicated soon, so that residents know where to collect water during weekends.
We need to get the cooperation of the whole city in order to overcome these challenging times. Residents need to note that we are in a far worse position compared to this time last year as far as water levels are concerned. We unfortunately have to resort to these measures, because there is simply not enough water.
It is for these reasons that I appeal to all the residents to use water sparingly.
Honourable Executive Mayor Councillor Mzukisi Mpahlwa