By Anita Dangazele
For the first time in eight years, Nelson Mandela Bay can breathe a sigh of relief – four of its five balancing dams are now overflowing.
This time last year an end to the drought seemed virtually impossible, but following heavy rain over the past week, local dams have filled up fast.
The metro’s biggest supply dam, Impofu, was just more than 20% full and for it to start filling up, Churchill Dam had first to overflow.
On Saturday, the Gamtoos irrigation board confirmed that the Churchill Dam was overflowing, making this another win for the drought-stricken region.
On Friday, the Algoa Water Supply System released a statement attributing the rise in dam levels to last weekend’s heavy rainfall.
“The Algoa Water Supply System is at 49.8%, after struggling for over two years, which affected the water supply in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
“In a similar period last year, the system recorded a low 19% as a result of the dire effects of drought,” the statement read.
“The increase in the system which supplies water to dams located in Nelson Mandela Bay is attributed to the recent showers experienced over the past weekend and extending into the week,” it added.
SA Weather Service regional spokesperson Garth Sampson said it would be naive to think the city is completely out of the woods.
“Easing restrictions in times of abundance and increasing them in times of dearth is the only way to flatten that curve. We would be naive to think that we will never experience a drought situation again,” he said.
“This ‘peak’ could last one or even many years, but thereafter we will return to the next drought,” said Sampson.
However, the department has not released any information on drought restrictions in the metro being lifted.
At the time of going to print, NMBM media liaison officer Mthubanzi Mniki had not responded to Scrolla.Africa’s request for comment.
Pictured above: Kouga Dam
Image source: Gamtoos Irrigation Board