The Nelson Mandela Bay Council today approved the implementation of water restrictions, with immediate effect.
The municipality has been using approximately 60 million litres more than its allocation daily and has not taken action to address this. The Minister of Water and Sanitation gazetted a notice containing a requirement for our usage to be decreased by 15% in April this year. This notice was gazetted only after she and her department had negotiated and pleaded with the Metro, asking that the usage be decreased without her having to resort to publishing a legal notice requiring the cuts.
Announcing the water restrictions Cllr Annette Lovemore, Member of the Mayoral Committee: Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy said:
We operate in a water-scarce environment. We are pleased to say that finally, in our newly constituted council, we are acting responsibly and taking practical steps to address our water shortages.
Residents will not be able to use hoses to water their gardens or to wash their cars. The full list of prohibited activities will be made widely known. It is important to remember that failure to act in accordance with the restrictions is a criminal offence, and could result in legal action.
Most importantly, residents are being requested to reduce their water usage by 15% by the end of October this year. Businesses (and particularly our large water users) are being urged to play their role as prominent Nelson Mandela Bay citizens, and lead by example.
If water consumption does not decrease by 15% within 2 months, Council will be forced to consider punitive measures. These could include increased water tariffs for usage above certain limits, and the requirement that water tanks be installed for all new houses.
Our water restriction measures require nothing more than residents’ awareness of the importance of saving water, and their full cooperation. We are confident that most residents will respond positively.
We know that the municipality must play its part too. I must make particular mention of recent media reports on water leaks. We welcome these reports. They emanate from a civic-minded, interested and caring community. They represent a vigilant civil society, which is critical to the success of any government. We have no doubt that the local media will hold our new administration to account, and we look forward to that.
The Municipality has a serious problem with respect to water losses. The solutions are not short-term and are multi-pronged. We expect to release full details of our strategy within the next fortnight. Already, advertisements for the employment of ten additional plumbers have been published.
I am determined that, once we announce our strategy, we will be entirely transparent with respect to its implementation and its success (or otherwise). I am not prepared to ask residents to save water, without committing to doing the same within the municipality.
This announcement follws hot on the heels of warnings from Pierre Joubert of the Gamtoos Irrigation Board.
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