BCM on brink of drought: Restrictions set to kick in soon if rain doesn't fall

Source: Department of Water Affairs Graphic: DYLAN WEARING
Source: Department of Water Affairs Graphic: DYLAN WEARING
Should Buffalo City Metro not get much-needed rain by the end of next month, the city will experience a drought which may force the local authority to increase its water penalties.

This, as recent rainfall failed to make any changes to dam levels in the Eastern Cape, with parts of the province still gripped by the crippling drought.

While the situation is not as dire in BCM where dams were currently between 43% and 100% on September 4, municipal spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said the metro now needed divine intervention.

“We are calling on our people to engage in prayers that can bring about rain in Buffalo City. The mayor will also engage in awareness and prayer sessions.

“The levels of dams supplying raw water to BCM are continuing to decline due to imminent drought conditions. As a result, council took a resolution to implement water restrictions as per council resolution dated June 28,” Ngwenya said.

He added that the department of water and sanitation started to release raw water from Wriggleswade Dam from June 1, as per the dam operating rules for the Amathole system in order to supplement raw water supply to Bridle Drift and Nahoon dams, which are the main dams that supply water to East London, Mdantsane and surrounding areas.

“It is worth noting that there are serious financial implications that the city is incurring with this exercise,” Ngwenya said.

The level of the metro’s back-up dam, Wriggleswade, is declining at a rate of 1.6% per week.

As a result, the metro expects to be in a drought situation from the end of next month if rainfall does not materialise between now and then.

Meanwhile, the worst affected region, Amathole, which has been battling the drought for at least two years now, is only left with a “few more days of water supply before the water runs out completely”.

The weekend rain did little to make the desired improvements to dam levels around the province.

East London recorded 66mm, Bhisho 48mm, Port Elizabeth 32mm and Grahamstown 36mm, while areas like Patensie and Kareedouw had some good falls, South African Weather Service’s Garth Sampson said yesterday.

“We are generally getting rainfall below the normal rainfall levels. There will be no major rainfall for the rest of this year,” Sampson said.

Amathole municipal spokesman Siyabulela Makunga said: “ADM is left with only a few more days of water supply before the water runs out completely.”

He said they would continue carting water to residents.

“This amid welcome relief brought by the rain in areas within the Great Kei Local Municipality.

“However, it had no impact on the critically low Gcuwa Dam in Butterworth,” he said. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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