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Tipping Point

Jomiro Eming 

Makana municipality released a statement this week that Settlers Dam and Howieson Dam were currently at water levels of 22% and 56% respectively. Along with these figures, the municipality set water restrictions at a maximum of 100l per person, per day (p/p-p/d). (detailed below)

Residents of the areas supplied by these dams have – until now – been waiting for commercial Blackwater Divers to release their findings of investigations around how much of the available water is still viable for pumping. These reports have now finally been released.

The focus of their investigation was to assess how much silting had occurred in the dams’ inlet areas, and how much water could still be pumped out. The diving team leader, Martin Victor, told Grocott’s Mail that the Settler’s Dam inlet area was clear, but the Howieson’s Poort Dam’s deepest inlet of four is blocked by silt, and another is above the water level. The other two supply inlets, however, are clear. Settler’s Dam feeds Grahamstown East, while Howieson feeds Grahamstown West.

The full report will be submitted to Makana Municipality and Amatola Water.

For residents, however, this means that water restrictions which have been put in place are of utmost importance and should be taken seriously. The Makana Municipality has allotted 100? p/p-p/d, which – if not adhered to – will result in more rigid restrictions. Cape Town, for instance, is currently at an emergency level 87l p/p-p/d.

What can you do to help?

Activate’s #90DaysAndCounting campaign has been running since the second term on Twitter, with daily tips for saving water in residence and in digs. The current water levels mean that our last month of free-flowing, pressurised water is nearing, and saving water is as

important now as ever. If you haven’t been keeping up with the campaign, you can find it here.

That said, 100? is difficult to comprehend. For some perspective, here are some rough figures for approximately how much water household activities use-up on average:

  • Flushing the toilet: 10l per flush (without a brick or “Hippo bag”)
  • Filling a bath to the top: 150l
  • Showering: 22l per minute (older shower-heads), or 10? per minute (low-flow shower-heads)
  • Taps: 20-30l per minute (non-aerated), or 6-10? per minute (aerated)
  • Dishwashers: 60l per wash, or 15l per wash (energy-efficient, or on half-load setting)
  • Washing machines: 150l per wash (older, low-efficiency machines), or 100? per wash (high-efficiency machines, or on half-load settings)
  • Filling a sink: 5-7l

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