Drought mitigation plans and projects

The construction of the Bloemendal Reservoir to Kwanobuhle Pipeline, which will supply Gariep Dam / Nooitgedagt water to approximately 70% of the Kwanobuhle area, is one of the City's numerous drought mitigation projects currently underway. 

The project's construction was accelerated in order to complete it before the Kouga Dam, Kwanobuhle's primary supply source, ran dry. To date, 4,250m of the total 5,500m pipeline length has been completed. Work is still in progress. 




Nelson Mandela Bay is currently experiencing a severe drought, with our main storage dams supplying the Metro at the lowest levels recorded in recorded history.

Capacity has dropped alarmingly, and we all need to save water NOW to prevent our taps from running dry.

With no clear indication of rain in the near future, it is estimated that various areas in Nelson Mandela Bay will run dry when the water levels drop too low to allow us to extract water from our dams.

If consumption is not cut to 210 megaliters per day, areas such as KwaNobuhle and St. Albans will be the first to run dry!



The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has embarked on a pressure reduction (PRV) system installation to help achieve a much-needed decrease in water consumption to prevent the dire situation of the City running out of water.

The combined levels of the main dams supplying the City are just above 10%, with the level of our main supply dam, tge Kouga Dam, declining rapidly to below 4 percent. The Kouga Dam supplies KwaNobuhle, one of the City's biggest townships. This dam also supplies St Albans, home to the St Albans Correctional Facility, accommodating more than five thousand prisoners.

The pressure management installations will contribute towards efficient water consumption, reduce water losses through leaks and pipeline failures, while assisting the NMBM Water Services Department in controlling our water network and supply. It will also reduce the cost of maintenance and contribute to the longevity of assets.

Currently, 63 district metered areas throughout the City are already managed through PRVs. This equates to about 24% of the municipal water network. Additional sites have been identified, and more installations are currently under way.

Speaking in Kabega Park at one of the sites where a PRV has been installed, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure and Engineering, Cllr Thsonono Buyeye, said that the PRV installation project was one of the more unpopular projects that the City had to accelerate in terms of implementation.

"Through this project, residents will in some instances experience low pressure in their water supply. Although efforts are being made to decrease the impact as much as possible through targeting certain time frames, it is evident that some residents will be inconvenienced," said MMC Buyeye.

Buyeye said that the City was now racing against time to avoid a situation of KwaNobuhle running dry. A 5-km long pipeline is being installed to connect KwaNobuhle to the water system from Nooitgedagt. The project is expected to be completed by the end of August. The City has already started to install water tanks in KwaNobuhle to service the community should the area run dry.

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Work to prepare for what seems to be the inevitable eventuality of KwaNobuhle running out of water started in July with the installation of the first water tanks, as an emergency intervention. For the past three months, the City has not received any significant rainfall, while water consumption has remained high.

In terms of the current water restrictions, the City is supposed to be consuming less than 250 megalitres per day. However, this target has remained elusive, with a regular consumption of about 300 megalitres per day. This consumption has led to a decline in the level of the City's main supply dam, the Kouga Dam, which supports KwaNobuhle, St Albans and the surrounding areas.

Following the call by Nelson Mandela Bay's Executive Mayor, Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, to the National Department of Water and Sanitation for an intervention, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced that her Department would donate water tanks and water trucks to assist during the water crisis.

KwaNobuhle township, which has a population of approximately 250 000 people, is located on the outskirts of Uitenhage. It currently receives its water from the Loerie Water Treatment Works (WTW) and has an estimated demand of 15 megalitres per day.

Recent projections revealed that a high probability exists that the Kouga Dam, which supplies the Loerie WTW, would run dry in July 2021. The city has received some rain and currently the level of the Kouga Dam as of 2 August is gauged at 4.2%. Though the Kouga Dam has not yet run dry, the rain that we recently received is still not enough to avoid the supply dams running dry.

Speaking after the installation of water tanks in July, Mayoral Committee Member for Infrastructure and Engineering, Councillor Thsonono Buyeye, said that the project was the City’s "pro-active effort to manage the crisis ahead".

"We appreciate the intervention by the Department of Water and Sanitation. As we count the days, it is becoming clear to us that we cannot avoid the eventuality of running out of water in the near future. It will just be a matter of severity, if rain does not come our way," said Mayoral Committee Member Buyeye.

Councillor Buyeye issued an urgent appeal to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to continue to do everything to save water.

"All our actions are crisis management actions; the most sustainable way to deal with the water crisis is behavioural change in the way we use this scarce commodity, while we as the City continue to invest in the maintenance of our infrastructure," said MMC Buyeye.

Councillor Buyeye called on residents to protect the water tanks as they are a critical service at a critical time.

The roll-out has started in July as a pro-active measure to manage the severity of the pending crisis: the Department of Water & Sanitation has donated 100 water tanks and 10 water trucks, specifically earmarked for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Fifty sites have been identified and each site will have two tanks installed, so as to allow for 10,000 litres of water to be supplied to the surrounding community.

Water trucks will fill up at the Kabah Water Treatment Works, which is approximately 11 kilometres from the centre of KwaNobuhle . The trucks will also ferry water from the Treatment Works to the water tanks positioned in different areas.

An elderly resident of KwaNobuhle, Nontuthuzelo Nkosana, who resides next to the newly installed tanks, said that residents were relieved that they would have an alternative water supply.

"The intermittent supply has started. Some of us are old and have sicknesses, and then the provision of water becomes a life and death issue. I'm happy that we have a water tank a few meters from my house," said Nkosana.


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality continues to experience severe drought, and to curb the wastage of water through leaks, the NMBM Water & Sanitation Sub-directorate is working tirelessly through its intensified water leaks programme to fix damaged water pipes and water meters that contribute to water leaks.

A total of seven contactors have been employed to repair leaks across the Metro and are in different areas of the Metro daily. From May to July 2021, a total of 4284 leaks have been repaired. It is important for residents to note that due to the aging infrastructure in the Metro, leaks will always be a challenge that the Municipality will face.

The intensified leaks programme is a commitment to residents that this moving target will always be pursued. The worst leaks are prioritised first as our water reticulation system is a pressurised system.

Residents are encouraged to continue reporting water leaks to the Service Delivery Call Centre at 0800 20 50 50, or to waterleaks@mandelametro.gov.zaor via the Municipal Application that can be downloaded on Play Store.


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has given four companies permission to supply non-potable water throughout the Metro in terms of Clause 26 (1) of the NMBM By-Laws and the General Authorisation Permit. This has been done to assist during times of water shortages.

Permits have been issued to the companies by the Department of Water and Sanitation. The Department has granted these companies permission to use their source of water as detailed in the approval and under the prevailing laws of the National Water Act 36 of 1998 Clause 3.

These permits grant the companies permission to supply water to residents and businesses in the Metro for non-potable use, such as the filling of swimming pools, car washes, high pressure cleaning services and domestic uses.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to buy non-potable water from the service providers below, as purchasing water from a company without a permit is a crime and residents will be held accountable for buying and selling water illegally. 

  1. Toral Talati – 041 992 3226 / 061 494 4398
  2. Rehoboth Spring Water – 041 506 2442 / 082 367 6896
  3. Bay Water Supplies – 082 575 1791
  4. Water Delivery – 041 363 0311

Maximisation of Nooitgedagt / Gariep Water

KwaNobuhle Supply Pump Station Augmentation


Since November 2015, the NMBM has been experiencing a dry period of below average monthly rainfall, resulting in declining dam levels and water storage capacities. 

In September 2018, good rains occurred in very specific catchments and the average dam levels increased from 17.82% to 53.03%. This rainfall created a false sense of security as certain catchment areas did not receive significant rainfall. 

Since then, the average dam levels have continued to drop at a consistent rate, to a record low of 9.97% on 22 July 2021.

During August 2021, mild relief rainfall was experienced, which increased the average levels to 12,50% as of 31 August 2021. 


Drought Emergency & Mitigation Plan

Considering the persisting drought, the Metro is strictly focusing on assisting and protecting the public.

Emergency intervention and mitigation work are undertaken and planned  as a matter of urgency to ensure the supply of potable water to the City’s residents and businesses if one or more of the supply sources are depleted.

The drought intervention and mitigation team investigated the impact of the depletion of the western storage dam capacities and the implications to the communities if drought conditions prevail.

The NMBM Disaster Management Sub-Directorate, together with the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, has compiled and submitted the reports required for the Head of the National Disaster Management Centre to classify the drought as a disaster. The classification allows for the implementation of contingency arrangements and other measures to deal with a disaster, as supported by the Disaster Management Act. The declaration of a state of disaster will then follow the classification of the disaster.  


Drought Intervention

The Metro has since identified the following drought intervention measures and projects as per the approved Drought Mitigation Plan of February 2018.


  Table 2: Drought Intervention Measures and Projects




Reduction in water demand by means of


Water restrictions

Monitoring and contacting of high consumers

Highly visible publicity and awareness campaign


Water Conservation & Demand Management




Leak detection and repairs

Pressure reductions

Monitoring of water balance

Meter Replacement Programme

Leakage repair for low income households


Implementation of Emergency Augmentation Schemes


Implement Ground Water Schemes

o      Coegakop Production Boreholes

o      Uitenhage Boreholes

o      Moregrove Fault Line Boreholes

o      Churchill Wellfield 

o    Health Facility Boreholes

Maximisation of the Nooitgedagt System

Maximisation of the Older Dams System

Investigation into Desalination Plants

Reuse of Treated Effluent Schemes

Rainwater Harvesting

Accessing of dead storage in the Churchill and Impofu Dams


Timeline: July 2021 – August 2022

Budget: R50 million

The augmentation work for the KwaNobuhle Supply Pump Station includes the construction of a new sunken pump station building and pipework to increase the pumping capacity. The contract commencement date for the project was 12 July 2021, with an estimated completion date of end August 2022.

During the construction period, 17 local EME construction companies will benefit from the contract, making up the legislated 30% requirement to be subcontracted.

Once completed, the pump station’s transfer capacity will be doubled, providing a reliable potable water supply source to the KwaNobuhle, Greenbushes and surrounding areas.

Work on the KwaNobuhle Supply Pump Station is on track for the planned completion date of end August 2022. 

Once completed, the KwaNobuhle supply pump station will be able to provide Nooitgedagt / Gariep dam water to KwaNobuhle, without the current strict system constraints. 

An additional benefit to the pump station will be the ability to transfer  Nooitgedagt / Gariep dam water to the Greenbushes Reservoir. From the Greenbushes Reservoir, it  will be possible to insert the Nooitgedagt / Gariep dam water  into the Churchill supply pipelines through the existing infrastructure at Seaview to augment the Western supply sources.

For more information, please refer to the NMBM’s Facebook page, where an update video was posted on 22 July 2021 explaining the importance and far-reaching effects of the Kwanobuhle Supply Pump Station project. 

Click on the image below to download water saving tips



 041 992 3226 / 061 494 4398


 041 506 2442 / 082 367 6896


 082 575 1791


 041 363 0311


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