KNYSNA NEWS - At a section 80 Knysna municipal planning, development and infrastructure committee meeting it was made clear that Knysna now has a water shortage. Even law enforcement agents were tasked to step up on the "high alert and enforce the water restrictions vigorously".
The meeting took place on Wednesday, February 24.
In a report to the committee from the director of technical services, Michael Rhode stated that the Akkerkloof Dam level is "at 7.8m (40%), which is approximately 28 days' storage at a consumption rate of 12 Ml/day".
Refering to the Glebe Dam, the department of technical services stopped the pumping of water from the dam on February 16, with the water level at about 5%. Rhode's report explains that the pumping was stopped "to avoid damage to the pumping system and to avoid having to deal with the poor quality of water".
Reffering to the Gouna and Knysna Rivers, the report states, "The flow (for both rivers) is 2mm over the weir. The department risk damaging the pumps if the level drops further, and will most probably pump every second or third day."
On the Knysna reverse osmosis plant the report states, "One skid is operational and the other two skids need maintenance. The two skids will be operational when the new inlet system is installed. The department plans to operate one skid on a 24-hour basis, which can provide approximately 0.7 Ml/day for the interim.
"With all four of the Belvidere boreholes and both in Brenton operational, it can produce approximately 0.7 Ml/day.
The department are sourcing quotations for the supply and installation of two arch dam boreholes, however these boreholes are very high in iron and aluminium and can lead to complications at the Knysna water treatment works.
"In Sedgefield the Karatara River is also 2mm over weir, the Sedgefield desalination plant has minor repairs to be done to get one skid operational. The Sedgefield boreholes are operational and can be utilised to full extent of approximately 1 Ml/day, if needed."
The following recommendation was accepted:
1. That the greater Knysna water supply status quo report be noted;
2. That the communication section alert all communities of the dire drought situation and encourage the conservation of water through a more vigorous campaign plan that will be submitted at the next mayoral committee meeting;
3. That the law enforcement section be put on high alert and enforce the water restrictions vigorously;
4. That "water drought situation tariffs" be implemented;
5. That a water leak repair programme be implemented;
6. That the report be submitted to the mayoral committee meeting regarding water restrictions and different levels that pertain thereto; and
7. That an updated report on the necessary investments and interventions regarding the water infrastructure investment programme be submitted to the next mayoral committee meeting.
A Knysna community activist and lawyer, Susan Campbell, after the meeting asked the community to help the municipality in their water conservation process.
"Resolving the water crisis is as much to the responsibility of each member of the Knysna community as that of the municipality. We all have a duty to stop wasting water and have to learn to treat water as a precious natural resource.
"Continued requests from the municipality to conserve water keep falling on deaf ears. If our taps run dry because we keep wasting water, we cannot blame the municipality for our actions," said Campbell.
Water restrictions, for example those on the watering of gardens, stay the same for now, but will be enforced and may be reviewed.
According to the municipality's website (www.knysna.gov.za) the existing water restrictions are as follows:
"From December to May, residents with even street numbers may water their gardens in summer from 17:00 to 18:00 on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Residents with odd street numbers may water their gardens from 18:00 to 19:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
(During June to November, the watering times are from 17:00 to 18:00)"