0: Countdown to Catastrophe
Impofu Dam: This is what an Eastern Cape dam looks like after months of drought
One has to travel seven kilometres from the wall of the Impofu Dam near Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape before you find any water. Grass and bush have taken over large sections of the dam, presenting a stark reminder of how long this part of the province has been battling a devastating drought. Maverick Citizen photographer Deon Ferreira visited the Impofu Dam this week after the Nelson Mandela Bay metro announced that levels were now too low to extract water from it.
Nelson Mandela Bay is almost out of water. With no usable water left in the Impofu Dam, the city had a mere nine days of water left in the Churchill Dam.
Welcome rains fell in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday, with an early indication from the SA Weather Service’s Garth Sampson that some did fall in the dam catchment areas.
By lunchtime, 14 mm of rain was measured in Gqeberha and between 15 and 24 mm in the catchment areas for the Churchill and Impofu dams. These figures have not yet been confirmed. Sampson previously said the area needs at least 50 mm of rainfall in 24 hours to make a significant difference.
The metro’s director of bulk water services, Joseph Tsatsire, said this week that water can no longer be extracted from the Impofu Dam. Low level barges that were brought in to pump out what little water was left had to be decommissioned after taking in mud.
This resulted in the metro only being able to collect 96 million litres of water from the dams (roughly the estimated amount lost to water leaks in the municipality).
The metro had to rely on the Nooitgedacht Scheme – bringing water from the Gariep Dam in the Free State – to deliver 180 million litres of water.
There has been much controversy over the Nelson Mandela Bay metro’s handling of the water crisis and its over-extraction from the dams.
Meanwhile, low level barges are being introduced at the Churchill Dam but, according to the metro’s daily update, the dam might be depleted before the barge project has even been completed.
The metro indicated they are extracting from the Kouga/Loerie dams again until they can fix the barges on the Impofu Dam. The municipality said previously that they were over-extracting water from the Kouga/Loerie dams and had already exceeded their quota for the year. DM/MC
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