MOSSEL BAY WELCOMES VISITORS OVER FESTIVE SEASON
The Mossel Bay Municipality announced that there will be sufficient water for the year-end holiday season, as well as until the new 15 Ml a day seawater desalination reaches full production. There is no longer a threat of having to close caravan parks or turn away any visitors due to insufficient water supplies for the town.
This is subject to the Municipality still maintaining the water restrictions and being able to rely on the co-operation of residents and visitors to keep on using water sparingly and with the utmost care.
The water situation in the town has improved, particularly during the past two weeks, due to several actions taken by the Municipality to save water and develop alternative water sources. Other role players such as PetroSA, the Department of Water Affairs and the Eden District Municipality were also involved by either supporting projects or introducing water saving measures.
The recently gazetted notice by the Department of Water Affairs to reduce the taking of raw water for agricultural purposes in the drainage area of the Wolwedans Dam by sixty per cent has already had a positive effect on the water supply. The Blue Scorpions, who monitor any contraventions of the Water Act, have met with the farmers who are giving their full co-operation with reduced water consumption. This has reduced the extraction from Wolwedans Dam considerably. The level of the dam stood at 17,3% at the beginning of the week, compared to 17,6% at the beginning of last week.
The Reverse Osmosis plant at Hartenbos is functioning well and is supplying PetroSA with 5 megalitres of water per day, further easing the burden on the Wolwedans Dam.
The equipping of some of the successful boreholes has been completed and that water is now in the municipal water network system. PetroSA announced this week that it will make an amount of R10 million available for further exploratory boreholes and for some of the existing boreholes which have not yet been equipped. It is projected that the yield of the borehole project could increase to at least 5 megalitres of water per day through these additional measures.
The Department of Water Affairs announced three weeks ago that once the Wolwedans Dam reaches the 10% level, PetroSA will no longer be permitted to extract water from the dam.
Although the recent rains made very little difference to the level of the Wolwedans Dam, there was some significant runoff into the much smaller Klipheuwel Dam, which now stands at 45% full. As from Monday, 30 August 2010, the Municipality commenced extracting water from the Klipheuwel Dam. There is good co-operation between the Municipality and PetroSA and the Municipality hopes that by using water from the Klipheuwel Dam, more water will be available for usage by PetroSA from the Wolwedans Dam. Although the bottom 10% of the Klipheuwel Dam will most likely not be suitable for human consumption, this should extend the town’s water sources by two months.
PetroSA have also made funding to the amount of R1,8 million available for the usage of water from the Hartebeeskuil Dam. The quality of this water is not very good but by releasing it into the Hartenbos River and pumping it from behind a small weir lower down in the river into the Municipality’s main water line and from there to the raw water treatment plant at Little Brak River some of this water can be used. The weir will be made with sand bags. This dam is also considerably smaller than the Wolwedans Dam, and is 36,8% full at present. The bottom 10% to 15% of the dam’s water will most likely not be able to be purified for human consumption.
PetroSA have also committed R16 million to speeding up the desalination project. This will mean that the first five megalitres of water will be available as from mid-December 2010. The costs of accelerating the project are high due to the fact that suppliers of membranes in Spain will have to work round the clock to have the necessary components ready. The components will then have to be air freighted instead of shipped as originally planned. All other necessary components will also have to be accelerated resulting in these exorbitant costs.
The first five megalitres of water from the desalination plant will then be used by PetroSA as they will be carrying the full costs of the acceleration, with the final ten megalitres being available to the Municipality as from the end of January 2011 or early February 2011.
The very small Ernst Robertson Dam is 99% full at present but this dam will only be able to supply the town with approximately two weeks of water.
In view of the above, Mossel Bay should have sufficient water until February 2011, even taking into account the higher usage during December and January due to the large number of visitors.
The Mossel Bay Municipality would like to thank all residents for their co-operation with the water restrictions and ensure residents that everything possible is being done in order to ensure that Mossel Bay does not run out of water as has happened in many Eastern Cape towns during the past year.
The December/January season is of vital importance to the economy of the town and Council wishes to assure businesses and accommodation establishments that all visitors are welcome and the water supplies will be adequate to cope with the influx of visitors.