Mayor stresses need to save water

The August Municipal elections may have brought about a very much needed change in the make-up of the Kouga Municipal Council with the Democratic Alliance sweeping the board with 17 seats to the ANC’s 12. That the new council has already made a difference cannot be argued but sadly the now DA council is somewhat hamstrung by matters carried forward from the previous incumbents rule. Not only do they have to abide by an inherited 2016/17 budget but must also deal with the hangover caused by the blatantly poor management of finances, resources and personnel left by their predecessors.

Presenting to a rather disappointingly small group of DA supporters last evening at St Francis Bay Golf Club, Kouga Executive Mayor, Elza van Lingen  highlighted many of the positives that the new council have made during their short time in charge as well as some of the obstacles in the way to creating a better life for all in Kouga. Possibly the most concerning of all was the matter of the R48 million water account that the municipality has been slapped with by Nelson Mandela Bay. One can only hope, and maybe pray, that some sort of compromise, legal or other, can be reached.  A rough calculation of the annual rates collected from the St Francis region must add up not much more than the amount being claimed by  NMB water and it would indeed be a catastrophe if these much needed funds are lost to an already financially stressed budget. Van Lingen seemed quite positive that this matter will be amicably resolved and that a legal lifeline is being investigated.

And speaking of water! Unless one has their head in the sand we are all aware that South Africa is in the grip of a serious drought. If one listens to AlgoaFM, Darren Mann and his fellow jocks as well Atholl Trollip in his bi-weekly chats on the radion station, regularly speak of the necessity of saving at least 15% of water consumption.

Well guess what? We too in Kouga are required to make this 15% saving or face severe penalties. Now St Francis is a little different to all the metros and most towns in the country in that our resident population explodes over the holiday periods of Christmas and Easter and water consumption rises accordingly. With the tens of thousands of visitors about to arrive there is absolutely no way we can save 15% and in fact will possibly increase tenfold if not more. But panic not for the council, according to van Lingen, have formulated a method of calculating what will constitute a maximum allowance before penalties are imposed for exceeding water limits.

But penalties or not, water is scarce and we must all make every effort to save this valuable resource. Pack away your hose pipe, put a brick or two in your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water used fir flushing. Use buckets to empty your bath to water your garden or wash your car, drink your scotch neat!  But seriously living without water is a lot harder than making an effort now. Queuing for a water truck as some of us experienced in Durban many years ago when floods destroyed pipelines is no fun.

Without wishing to make this post into a book, we will discuss more on our mayor’s presentation in future posts as well as a lot more on the water situation particularly once our visitors start arriving to try and motivate them into helping us save water.