Kouga dams could run dry in 18 months

(Update following the media briefing this morning)

Dams from which Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay draw water may run dry within 18 months if steps are not taken to decrease usage and increase supply.
This was the warning issued by Kouga Executive Mayor Booi Koerat at a media briefing in Jeffreys Bay today (Tuesday, 15 October).
The Mayor said that while the average dam levels were currently above 80%, the volume of water in the dams would be depleted by 2015 if the current consumption patterns persisted and no significant inflow into the dams occurred.
“This dire prediction is based on annual modelling of our water resources by the Department of Water Affairs. The model warns that Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay are heading for a water shortage crisis and urges that usage be curbed immediately,” he explained.
Kouga Municipality issued its first water alert a month ago, requesting that residents cut their water consumption by at least 10%.
“We would like to call on residents again to conserve water and to help spread the message,” the mayor said.
“We are not yet introducing official water restrictions but will have to do so if water consumption does not decrease.”
He said Kouga was working closely with the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), which manages South Africa’s water resources, on projects to increase the local supply.
These projects include the treatment of waste water, dune filtration systems, boreholes, sea water desalination and increasing the capacity of the Kouga Dam.
“We have already conducted studies and drawn up plans to tap into more of Kouga’s ground water supply, however, the implementation of the plans will require exploratory drilling on private land and a significant capital layout,” he said.
“Consequently, the plans form part of our long-term vision to increase the water supply and are not an immediate, short-term solution.”
The mayor said Kouga was further focusing on water conservation.
“We have embarked on an aggressive leak detection programme to reduce water losses. R1-million has already been secured from DWA towards this.”
Despite a good rainfall in August 2013, the rainfall over the past year has been lower than the 20 year average. “We appeal to all citizens to hold hands and use water wisely. No region can survive without water. We all have a role to play in conserving this precious source of life,” the mayor added.

(edited)

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