Nelson Mandela Bay’s dams are just 18% full

Cape Town may be recovering from the drought that plagued it for all of 2017, but other areas across South Africa haven’t been so lucky. Namely, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMB).

The area that encompasses Port Elizabeth has been among the worst affected. Its five largest dams currently hold just 17.9% of their total storage.

“November 2015 was the last time our dams were filled to 100% capacity,” the municipality explains on its dam resource page.

nelson mandela bay dam levels september 2018

While the likes of the Loerie Dam is currently at 86% full, it makes a small dent on the overall landscape. The NMB’s largest dam, the Impofu, holds just 27.5% of its 106 885 megalitre capacity.

The Impofu Dam, Nelson Mandela Bay’s largest dam, is just 27.5% full

Granted, the Eastern Cape’s largest metropolitan area uses a lot less water than Cape Town. According to NMB, the city uses just over 260-million litres per day. Cape Town uses around double that daily.

Still, it’s clear that Nelson Mandela Bay’s water storage system is severely stressed.

There is good news though.

Over the weekend, much of the Eastern Cape received notable rainfall amounts.

According to Africa Weather, catchment areas like Patensie and Joubertina received in excess of 30mm. Uitenhage, south of the Groendal Dam, received 37mm. Port Elizabeth itself received 41mm.

Is this enough? Not likely. But more rainfall is set to impact the Western Cape throughout the week, and hopefully the Eastern Cape too.

Feature image: Churchill Dam, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Andy Walker
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