Pray for rain every Wednesday at noon

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 August 2010

Mossel Bay’s water situation is “becoming bleaker by the day” and the municipality has called on residents to pray for rain every Wednesday at noon.

Water for industrial use will be abstracted from the Hartebeeskuil Dam, which is 38% full.

Municipal manager Michele Gratz said yesterday the town was “racing against time” to develop additional water sources, particularly the desalination plant that would supply 70% of the town’s needs.

The Wolwedans Dam, the town’s main supply of drinkable water, dropped to 18,5% this week and is set to run out of water by January if there is no rain before then.

If the dam level dropped to 10% or less, the Water Affairs Department said, only the municipality would be able to extract water. PetroSA’s gas-to-liquids refinery also extracts from the dam.

The municipality also had to investigate abstracting water for industrial use from the Hartebeeskuil Dam, which is 38% full.

The dam’s water is too brackish for human consumption, but can be purified at the reverse osmosis effluent purification plant at Hartenbos.

“It would, however, be costly to get the dam’s water to the plant because of the distance involved and it will also require the expansion of the recently completed plant,” Gratz said.

She said the immediate prospect for rain in the town, which has become the hardest-hit in the Garden Route’s worst drought in recorded history, remained unfavourable.

The municipal manager said the desalination plant was complex and the town was on a tight construction schedule to complete it in time.

“It is scheduled for completion towards the end of January or early February, which means that construction will have to carry on right through the year-end holiday season.

“Components such as the membranes have to be imported. These are all factors that can affect the contractors’ ability to complete the project on schedule,” Gratz said.

The plant will provide the town with 10 megalitres of water a day while new boreholes will provide a further 3Ml to 4Ml a day.

The town, which in July last year was consuming 22,86Ml/day, has dropped its consumption by almost half to about 13,5Ml/day.

PetroSA, the other main user of water from the Wolwedans Dam, used an average of 14,5Ml/day in June and July this year.

Gratz said leakages appeared to be the main cause of excessive water use and urged residents to discover and attend to leaks as soon as possible.

She said residents needed to reduce consumption to less than 10kl a month and recycle grey water wherever possible.

“To prevent excessive use of water, the municipality has already installed nearly 400 water flow restrictors at households which continued using more than the monthly limit of 15kl. In July, for example, there were still 105 households where consumption of 50kl or more for the month was measured.”

By: Janine Oelofse
Source: Weekend Post

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