Mossel Bay rain makes little difference to dam level

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 July 2010

The rain that fell last weekend was most welcome from an agricultural and gardening point of view, but the 31 mm received in the catchment area of the Wolwedans Dam was again unfortunately insufficient to make much of a difference to the level of the dam, says the Municipality in a news release on the water situation in Mossel Bay.

It is anticipated that the Wolwedans Dam will be empty by October 2010

The dam’s level rose by about 0,4%, which is equal to 100 megalitres of water and about three to four days of extraction from the dam by PetroSA, farmers and the Municipality. It is therefore still anticipated that the dam will be empty by October 2010, unless sufficient rain is received before then

Although the much smaller Ernst Robertson dam is more than 100% full, water from this dam is released into the Wolwedans Dam. The effect of the Ernst Robertson dam as well as the five megalitres a day of purified effluent water supplied to PetroSA from the newly commissioned Reverse Osmosis plant at Hartenbos has been taken into account in determining the date on which Mossel Bay is expected to run out of potable water at present consumption levels.

“The rains in June and July so far were obviously most welcome, but unfortunately did not buy us much extra time. It did, however, have the effect of generally greening the environment, and this may perhaps create a perception that the situation is not as serious as people are told. I, however, want to reiterate that the situation remains extremely serious and is in fact deteriorating. The water restrictions also remain in place.

“The Municipality continues to race against time to develop additional water sources and work on the 15 Ml/day seawater desalination plant at Voorbaai has already commenced. Although it was hoped that this plant would be in full production in November 2010, it now appears for a variety of reasons, including the reliance on imported components, that it would not be possible to achieve full production before the end of January or early February 2011.

“Production will now be phased in, with 5 Ml of water a day being produced in November 2010, 5 Ml more a day by early January 2011 and full production being reached in January or early February 2010,” said Dr Michele Gratz, Municipal Manager of Mossel Bay.

Dr Gratz said the borehole project has unfortunately been disappointing so far. Water was struck in just four of the fourteen boreholes sunk to date. The borehole drilled at Friemersheim is the only one so far with a satisfactory yield. The yield of the borehole at Dana Bay was not as good but nevertheless justifies connecting it to the water supply system of the Municipality. The water in the borehole sunk at Bartelsfontein is brackish, while the yield of the fourth did not warrant the further development of the hole.

Farmers are substantial users of water in the catchment area of the Wolwedans Dam and the Department of Water Affairs, whose competency this is, is in the process of imposing 60% restrictions on farmers. This should also increase the flow of water into the dam when it rains.

“It remains of the utmost importance that people use water sparingly and ensure that no water losses occur on their properties by regularly checking their systems for leaks and burst pipes and fixing leaking taps, toilets, etcetera,” said Dr Gratz.

Source: Mossel Bay Advertiser

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