That is the message issued jointly by Kouga Municipality and
St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group
REALITY: WATER RESTRICTORS WILL SOON BE INSTALLED AND IF YOU DON’T REDUCE CONSUMPTION DRASTICALLY, THERE WILL BE WATER RATIONING BY OCTOBER 2021 OR SOONER!
This is an urgent appeal to all St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis residents to immediately cut back on water consumption. Your extremely high and continued water use will result in water rationing being implemented which means that water will only be available from taps for a few hours per day and will be shut off for the remainder of the day. Amongst all regions in the Kouga Local Municipality, St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are the highest water users.
Potable water for the Greater St Francis area emanates from the Churchill / Impofudams via the Metro pipeline with a take-off near the R102 between Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay. The Kouga Local Municipality formed a Drought Mitigation Committee (DMC) which meets weekly, and to broadcast the seriousness of this dire situation, the local St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group (DVG) was co-opted.
Imagine the influx of visitors in December, welcomed to our beautiful area, with no water in our pipelines. This is a real! And this message is critical.
With all potential solutions being investigated, and professionals and experts on board, and with all measures in place, every household, business and contractor must reduce consumption by at least half, to close in on a stable water supply.
Kouga Municipality confirmed during last week’s DMC meeting, attended by the Executive Mayor, the Municipal Manager, councillors, senior officials and the DVG, that the current average consumption in our area is as much as 2,5 ML per day and reaches as high as 7,9 ML per day during the December festive period. Consumption levels must be driven down to meet the current supply and ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
Development increases the municipal rates base which is desperately needed to improve our beautiful area. Whilst the recent upswing in property sales and development is welcomed and positive for our economy, it threatens water security even further. It would be disastrous to our local economy if development were to be curbed because there is no water.
The Municipality is urgently assessing infrastructure and are putting the following measures in place:
- All municipal buildings will be equipped with rainwater harvesting tanks;
- The St Francis fire station will be equipped with 180 000 litres of water storage for use in the event of a fire;
Construction companies will receive personal municipal messages to implore them to minimize wastage on sites. Construction sites are some of the highest users of water in our area;
Property owners with high water use accounts will receive warnings directly from the office of the Municipal Manager;
- All viable boreholes are being made operational as a matter of urgency, but in some cases, the water quality is undesirable;
- Lessons are taken from best practice in other drought-stricken areas such as the Western Cape;
- Flow restrictors will be installed in individually metered households using more than 15kl per month;
The Municipality has embarked on desalination option investigations, although the necessary EIA’s and approvals process turns this into a longer-term solution. Council will call special meetings to expedite this.At the recent DMC meetings, the following points were made:
- The Greater St Francis is currently totally reliant on the Churchill and Impofu dam system for domestic water. This dam levels are at 17.85% and 14.53% respectively;
- The Municipality successfully established two boreholes at St Francis Links, with full cooperation;
- They are also identifying other potential borehole sites but some areas may not be viable due to the poor quality of water;
- To avoid Day Zero, water consumption must reduce as soon as possible to avoid water rationing;
- Water rationing will cause damage to the existing reticulation infrastructure,and this could be even more detrimental;
- Each property owner, whether residential or business, must take responsibility and are encouraged to procure rainwater harvesting systems,connected to your sewer systems etc;
- Bulk water consumers will be expected to formulate and submit water saving mitigation plans to the municipality.
- Winter rains are predicted to be below average but will be welcomed. It will however only buy more time. It will not alleviate the drought nor water scarcity for the foreseeable future;
- It is a reality that Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay will experience dry taps if each person doesn’t immediately reduce consumption. Therefore, no potable water may be used to irrigate nor fill pools, wash cars and the like;
- Please investigate leaks at your homes, especially if you don’t live here permanently.
With all municipal efforts to augment the water supply as much as possible, supplies will not meet a 100% supply capacity necessary for water security.
Households are only permitted 15KL per month, yet most in Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay are averaging over 30KL per month.
THE ONLY IMMEDIATE SOLUTION IS TO REDUCE YOUR CONSUMPTION BY AT LEAST 50%.
The alternative is to force property owners to do so, by increasing tariffs, installing restrictors and the undesirable water rationing until the Greater St Francis reaches the targeted 15KL household consumption level. Apathy and stating that you are entitled and can simply afford to pay for more water, contributes to this crisis.
WE URGE YOU TO EDUCATE YOUR DOMESTIC STAFF, MANAGING AGENTS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS. LET’S ALL REDUCE CONSUMPTION NOW TO AVOID DAY ZERO.