The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has been called in to help settle the looming water crisis in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM).
According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), residents of the metro are facing a possibility of dry taps due to the incompetence of the Amatola Water Board.
“Residents of the metro are facing the very real possibility of dry taps, and while it is the municipality’s responsibility to purify the water and distribute it, this cannot be done if the DWA does ensure that there is water to treat,” said Retief Odendaal, the Shadow MEC for Finance.
AMATOLA WATER BOARD BLAMED FOR CRISIS
Odendaal said the DWA had appointed the Amatola Water Board as the implementing agent to complete the third phase of the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme in NMB, which was supposed to provide an extra 50 million litres of water a day to desperate residents.
However, the Amatola Water Board allegedly failed to pay the contractor for work done, totalling R1.9 million, and the contractor has, therefore, downed tools, left the site and instituted legal work.
“NMB is in a race against time to prevent taps from running dry. Despite the recent rains, dams are at a critical 12.1% capacity and with hot summer weather fast approaching, these water supplies will be even harder pressed,” said Odendaal.
WATER AFFAIRS ASKED TO TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY
He said the failure of the Amatola Water Board to meet its obligations and thus place the most critical water augmentation project for the city, at risk, was unconscionable.
Odendaal further said that the DWA must take full responsibility for the failure of the inept Amatola Water Board to complete the Nooitgedacht project.
“The national government has long been aware of the challenges and constraints that the board has experienced over the last couple of years. Notwithstanding these challenges and constraints, the DWA awarded arguably the most important drought mitigation project in South Africa at the moment to this dysfunctional entity,” he said.
Attempts by The South African to get comment from the Amotola Water Board through the spokesperson, Nosisa Sogayise, were unsuccessful.