Nelson Mandela Bay
Needs Your Help
To get through the water crisis
We need to reduce our water consumption
and save as much as we can.
together we can turn
the water crisis around
Save water now
Updated daily by 12h00 (noon)
LAST UPDATED: 14 August 2023
Water Produced and Usage Statistics
Today's Dam Storage
Changed from a week ago
NMBM target demand:
230 million litres per day (MLD)
55 MLD used over target
Leaks Repair Meter
Current cumulative outstanding
26 August – 7 September 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 1650
22 August – 26 August 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 1184
18 August – 22 August 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 1480
29 July – 12 August 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 968
15 July – 29 July 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 968
8 July – 18 July 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 0
20 June – 8 July 2022
Cumulative Outstanding: 0
Water Collection Points
Day Zero Water Collection Points:
Should the City arrive at Day Zero, please find your nearest water collection point
Click on map icons to view details
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Local Dam Storage
Algoa FM News 27 June
Algoa FM News 23 June
UWFM Interview on Water Saving
Cape Talk Interview 24 June
Social Justice - DM Listen, 13 June
Algoa fm news 14 June
SAfm interview 14 June
Algoa fm news 13 June
Radio 2000 with David Mashabela 14 June
Find the latest tips on how to save water in South Africa with these water saving techniques you can use at home, at your business, in the garden and everywhere else you go.
- Why You Should Save Water
Water is life. Not only do you need water to survive but it is an essential resource in all matter. 71% of earth is covered with water but only 1% of it is drinkable. As water is necessary for all life and especially for human survival, the importance of this resource is clear.
With climate change, the weather patterns in the world have changed and South Africa’s catchment area has seen a severe scarcity of water.
According to Africacheck, the following statistics showcase the current water situation in South Africa.
- Roughly 88 % of SA households have access to water.
- There is piped water in less than 50% of the homes.
- South Africa has less water per person than Botswana & Namibia.
- South Africa is the 39th ‘driest’ countryin the world.
Everyone has a role to play to ensure that water is used in a sustainable manner.
General Quick Tips on How to Save Water
- Monitor how much water you are consuming.
- Find and fix leaks.
- Use alternative water resources, like collecting rain water or using grey water.
- Use hand sanitiser. But be warned – use it (and soap) properly or risk creating antibacterial-resistance, just like not finishing your antibiotics script.
- How to Save Water in Your Home
Starting at home, it’s important to realise how much water you can actually save. For each area of your home you are able to reduce a significant amount of water just by using effective techniques. To make the water saving journey as simple as possible, find water saving techniques for your home below.
- Take shorter showers. Turn the shower on, wet yourself, turn it off. Soap yourself, rinse, and you’re done. Showering once a day and filling up less water in your bath can save a lot of water.
- Use a basin in the shower. Collect all the water you shower with and use this to flush your toilet, either via the cistern or straight into the bowl.
- Wash your hair less often. With training and a few uncomfortable days your hair can adapt to being washed less often.
- Shave with a small container of water. There’s no need to keep water running this way when shaving.
- Reduce the amount of water you use when flushing the toilet. Lift the toilet handle immediately when flushing and only flush if needed. By doing this you reduce the amount of water running down the drain.
- Put a brick or bottle in the cistern of the toilet. This allows the cistern to fill up with less water.
- If you have a baby that cannot stand up in the shower, wash the baby in a basin or use a baby dam.
- Change your shower head to a water saving alternative
- Collect steam/moisture with a dehumidifier. The water collected can be used as a source of greywater.
- Fit water saving shower heads. A single temperature lever (instead of two taps) makes taking a shorter shower even easier – consider this when installing a shower.
Some alternative shower head solutions you can consider are:
- Nebia spa shower head
- Sustainable shower heads and regulators
- EcoSmart showers
- Fit water saving nozzles onto your taps
Some alternative water saving nozzles you can consider in a new or existing bathroom are:
Some alternative water saving toilets you can consider are:
- Put basins in your sinks and don’t leave water running when washing dishes. The basin can be used for freshwater to rinse vegetables or dishes.
- Boil water when washing dishes. Very hot water cleans your dishes more efficiently, which means you won’t need as much water or soap. It’s wise to leave the greasiest dishes for last.
- Use one-pot recipes when cooking meals. Often, using more than one pot is unnecessary when cooking.
- Steam your vegetables instead of boiling them. By doing this you are also cooking your vegetables in a healthier way.
- Scrape and wipe your plates clean before putting them in the dishwasher so you can use a shorter cycle.
- Put a full load of washing into the washing machine and dishwasher.
- Use paper cups and plates. Remember, plastic is extremely bad for the environment.
- Fit water saving nozzles on the kitchen sinks.
Some alternative water saving nozzles you can consider in new and existing kitchens are:
- Altered: Nozzle Dual Flow
- Sustainable nozzle aerators
- Exchange your old dishwasher for a water efficient alternative. Contrary to conventional wisdom, washing dishes by hand uses far more water and energy than using the dishwasher. When using the dishwasher households can save up to 1200 litres per year.
- How to Save Water in Your Business or Organisation
Water is needed for everything we produce and consume, which directly affects businesses. With this in mind, the impact organisations can make is huge, not only in Cape Town but in the entire world.
Businesses have an important role to play in the water conservation journey and can influence individuals, communities and other businesses to save water efficiently. We’ve noted the following water saving techniques to help save water efficiently within your business.
Tops Ways to Save Water in Your Business:
Existing Office Space:
- Educate your staff on the importance of saving water. Make sure they understand how to save water both at home and at work. A good initiative is to start a water saving project within the organisation.
- Do regular water saving audits. This will allow the organisation to monitor how much water is being used and which areas of the organisation are using more water.
- Use hand sanitizer in bathrooms.
- Flush toilets only when necessary.
- When cleaning office premises, don’t use water over excessively.
- Use a pool cover if the organisation has a pool.
- Use a product like LooMe or PooPourri to keep smells down. Alternatively use shaving foam in the cistern so you don’t need to flush so often.
- Exchange the toilets for water efficient alternatives.
Quick Fact: Drink less coffee! “About 18 900 litres of water is needed to produce 1 kg of roasted coffee. For a standard cup of coffee, one needs about 7 g of roasted coffee, so that a cup of coffee uses about 130 litres of water.” (Source: City of Cape Town Water Conservation)
New Office Space:
- Fit water saving taps or fit existing taps with aerators.
Some alternative water saving nozzles you can consider in new or existing office spaces are:
Some alternative water saving toilets you can consider are:
- How to Save Water in Your Garden
Plants also need water to survive, but it’s possible to reduce the amount of water used to keep them healthy. Saving water in the garden is just as important as saving water at home or at your business. 70% of households with gardens use up to 46% of their water for gardening. That’s a lot. We’ve noted several water saving techniques you can use to save water in the garden below.
- Plant succulents and other water-wise plants. The best plants will most probably be those that naturally occur in the area where you live, as they will be adapted to the local quantity of rainfall and shouldn’t need your extra assistance. Here’s a list of lovely water wise plants.
- Remove invasive and water hungry plant species. Check that none of the plants in your garden are water hungry species such as invasive alien Pine trees, Eucalyptus/Gums, Wattles and Australian Acacias and Jacaranda trees.
Fact: 1,44 billion litres of water is lost to invasive alien plants nationally, which could essentially sustain 3.38 million households with four people living for one year or 120,000 HA of cropland to increase food production (Source: World Wildlife Fund)
- Spread wood chippings or mulch in your garden beds. This technique will reduce evaporation from the soil and prevent the growth of weeds. Plants that provide ground cover can also serve this function.
- Take out your lawn. Lawns are water hungry and can be swapped for much nicer alternatives. Some succulents do this job excellently and are even nice to walk on when fully established.
- Wash your car on your lawn.
- Ask your local nursery for indigenous and water wise ground covering plants. that can replace a lawn.
- Indoor plants can benefit from living in your bathroom, where there will be more moisture in the air. Some may need more light than your bathroom offers so keep an eye on the plant’s health.
- Cover your vegetable garden with a shade cloth. This can deter pets while reducing evaporation.
- Consult a local landscaper to help you plant a waterwise garden.
To find out which plants grow naturally in your area, check out SANBI’s search tool. Click your rainfall region and the “drought tolerant” checkbox, as well as other factors about your garden (the amount of sunlight for example). The search tool will then generate a list of plants that would suit your garden.
- Invest in a greywater system.
- Invest in a water tank and connect all your gutters to it. If the tank fills up and you have a swimming pool, the overflow water could go into that. Your water tank can serve as emergency drinking water (when filtered) or be used in the toilet and garden.
- Use a drip irrigation system, instead of watering with a hose. This method slowly drips water and means that a lot less water is lost to evaporation.
Existing Swimming Pools:
- Turn off the automatic fill-up in your swimming pool. Apart from saving water, a continually dropping water level will also alert you to leaks in the system.
- Make sure you have a swimming pool cover to reduce the speed of evaporation of water. This will make a big difference to your water consumption.
- Convert your swimming pool to an underground water tank. If you only swim a few times per summer, is the water consumption really worth it? A gym membership may offer a warmer alternative if it’s exercise you’re after.
- Install a backwash tank. A backwash tank holds your pool’s backwash water and releases it back into the pool, instead of letting it go to waste.
- How to Save Water with Your Lifestyle Choices
Everything we use and eat has a water footprint. It’s possible for us to save water just by adjusting our lifestyle. According to the Water Footprint Network, ‘the water footprint is a measure of humanity’s appropriation of fresh water in volumes of water consumed and/or polluted.’ For example, leaving a mouthful of steak on your plate is equivalent to running your dishwasher 22 times. This is due to the fact that water is needed to produce the crops, which are fed to the cattle and the cattle then lands on your plate.
Water is needed for every aspect of the journey. Below are a few ways you can save water by changing up certain lifestyle choices.
- Reduce your meat and dairy intake. Beef has the greatest “water footprint” so cutting this out of your diet can save your country water. Only 3% of an individual’s water footprint is household use, whereas 73% comes from our diet and the food we eat.
“It takes three times more water to produce milk than vegetables, ten times more water to produce eggs, fourteen times more water to produce chicken meat, nineteen times more water to produce pork, and forty eight times more water to produce beef than vegetables.”
– Dr. Arjen Hoekstra & others, The Water Footprint Assessment Manual
WWF has calculated the amount of water certain foods need to be produced in South Africa (Image Source: World Wildlife Fund).
- Be mindful of the products you buy. When shopping for goods, reduce the amount of plastic you buy. Instead use paper cups, paper plates and buy food without the plastic wrapping where you can.
- Water Scarcity in the World
Many places around the world are experiencing drought and water scarcity. People are living with less water than they need. According to the World Wildlife Fund, roughly 1,1 billion people still don’t have access to water. That’s a lot of people. And despite the data, many people still don’t know how to use water sustainably.
Water affects everything: education, health, food and security. There are many examples of vulnerable cities facing water crises, such as Beijing, Cairo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Istanbul, Lahore and Bangalore.
Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems and the world’s population alive are running dry or becoming polluted. An important strategy around the world has become the re-use of wastewater.
With this strategy individuals are able to recover water, nutrients, or energy. In turn countries are using wastewater for irrigation – which represents 7% of irrigated land in developing countries.
We’re in a water crisis. The story is similar everywhere and because of this, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. Due to the water shortages, there are warnings of conflict and mass migration, which some experts say is already happening in Syria.
In a nutshell here’s why water conservation is key:
- Fresh water is scarce around the world.
- Humans need water to survive.
- A large amount of water is used to irrigate farmland for food production. The farming industry in South Africa are the leading direct users of water, consuming roughly 66% of water in South Africa.
- Water is essential for manufacturing (especially in heavy industries which require a lot of water as a power source or for cooling).
- Conserving water can save energy. To pump water and to use the sewage system, energy is required. By saving water you can reduce your carbon footprint and the water bill.
New technologies are emerging around us every day and innovative minds are working together to come up with new water saving solutions. With the severity of the water crisis it’s crucial to start thinking of long-term solutions rather than short term gains.
One area which is experiencing a lot of interest and innovation is desalination, known as turning saltwater into drinking water. Added to that there are also many nifty water saving devices which are being sold on the market.
The power of innovation and technology can help reduce the amount of water we use in our day to day life.
Water scarcity and drought however, has become a frequent phenomenon in many regions of the earth and it’s crucial to continue saving water. Safe and readily available water is necessary for the general health of humans.
A good amount of rainfall won’t solve the problem, since it takes between 500 and 1 300 years to fill an aquifer. We need to all take action today.
Everyone needs to join the conservation train, even if it only means implementing a few water saving techniques.
Every drop really does count.
Log a Leak
turning it around
Use Less than 50L
Follow these useful water saving tips to reduce consumption and manage the draught in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Report a Leak
We are here to play our part. Call our water saving team immediately if you spot a leak in the area.
Education about the drought in Nelson Mandela Bay is the first step to turning things around.
Know the Facts
Managing your Water Use
How do I determine if there is a water leak on my property?
- Check whether there are any damp areas on the ground or on the walls where your pipes run.
- Make sure that the geyser is not overflowing by checking the overflow pipe on the roof.
- Check the cisterns of each toilet on the property to ensure that the rubber seal is effective and water is not continually running into the bowl.
- If a hissing sound can be heard from the water pipes when no taps are running, there is probably a leak.
- Make sure that no taps are dripping: – a dripping tap can waste more than 200 litres of water a day, or about 6,5 kilolitres a month.
- Take a reading before going to bed at night; before you use/consume any water the following day, take the reading again. Any deviation between the two readings will indicate that you have a water leak
How do I read my water meter?
Reading Your Water Meter
Your water account will show a consumption charge for the total number of kilolitres you have used over the last month. Note that the meter reader does not read the number of litres.
As you are being charged according to the amount of water you use, it is a good idea to know how to read your meter and read it regularly.
It is important to understand water volumes. Here is an explanation:
1 Ml = 1 000 k l (think of a cube 10 m x 10 m x 10m. The NMBM usage is approximately 320 Ml/day)
1 k l = 1 000 l (think of a cube 1 m x 1 m x 1 m, 1 k l = 1 m3)
1 l = 1 000 ml (a teaspoon takes 5 ml, a cool drink can take 330 ml)
Your water meter tells you exactly how much water you are using. Generally, water meters are located just inside the boundary of your property, normally in the corner.
Water usage can be monitored by simply reading your meter on a daily basis.
Black numbers tell you how many kilolitres you have used;
Red numbers tell you how many litres you have used.
How do you calculate the charge for my monthly water consumption?
For businesses there is a flat rate applied to the number of kiloliters consumed. For residential properties, a sliding scale is applied to the volume of water consumed to determine the amount due – reading cycle between two consecutive reading dates.
What are the restrictions on the use of water?
RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF WATER
In terms of Section 4 of the Water Services Act 108 (No 108 of 1997) and Clause 31 of the Water & Sanitation Services By-Law the following will be prohibited from immediate effect:
- The use of water obtained from the Municipality’s water supply system for: –
(a) watering gardens, lawns, grassed areas, flower beds, racecourses, sports fields, bowling greens, golf greens and fairways, croquet lawns, turf wickets, ploughing fields and the like;
(b) topping up or filling fountains, ornamental ponds and the like;
(c) filling swimming and paddling pools;
(d) washing paved areas, walls, roofs, buildings and similar structures.
- The use or operation of: –
(b) sprinklers, sprinkler and drip systems;
(c) automatic swimming pool fillers;
(d) automatic urinal flushing systems;
(e) the connection of a hosepipe or any form of irrigation system to a tap supplying water from the Municipality’s water supply system unless for the purposes permitted in terms of this notice.
- The use of reclaimed water or water obtained from sources other than the Municipality’s water supply system.
- Watering gardens, lawns, grassed areas and flower beds by means of a hand held container.
- The use or operation of a hose pipe or sprinkler system for firefighting.
- The filling of a new pool on completion of initial construction.
- Commercial vehicle washing business where at least 70 % of the water is recycled. (Vehicle washing by means of a hand held container is permitted)
- Watering of plants, trees and shrubs in commercial, state and municipal nurseries.
- The filling of municipal swimming pools and swimming pools at hotels, fitness centres, medical care centres, schools, educational institutions and institutions of higher education.
- The prohibitions contained in this notice shall not apply in any case specifically exempted, in writing, by the Executive Director: Infrastructure and Engineering.
- Notice boards must be prominently displayed where water from sources other than the Municipality’s water supply system is used for irrigation.
- Land owners must notify the Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate in writing of the existence of boreholes on their property.
- Land owners must apply to the Department of Water & Sanitation for the intention to sink boreholes and also notify the NMBM.
- All consumption must be reduced by at least 15% and failure to achieve this the NMBM will be forced to impose stricter measure.
THE CONTRAVENTION OF THIS PROHIBITION CONSTITUTES A CRIMINAL OFFENCE
Who to Contact and What is Being Done to Save Water in NMBM?
How do I contact water services?
How can I report a water-related complaint?
All water related complaints must be reported to the call free number 0800 205050, which is operated 24/7. A reference number will be issued. Complaints can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has the municipality done about the drought situation?
The Municipality has implemented a number of emergency schemes and interventions to mitigate the consequences of the water shortage. Here are some of them:
- Emergency schemes
- Making available non-potable water to the public at no cost, to offset potable water consumption.
- Promoting use and making available return effluent water from all waste water treatment plants
- Making available untreated ground water at Coega Kop (this water will be collected at the Motherwell Cemetery).
- Using additional clarified and chlorinated unfiltered water from the Nooitgedagt Water Treatment Works to increase the Municipality’s total treatment capacity by 30 megalitres per day.
- Planning and completing feasibility studies for the desalination of sea water.
- Fast tracking the construction of the new Coega Kop Water Treatment Works and Well Field ground water from the artesian aquifers in the area surrounding Coega Kop.
Human capital resourcing, i.e. staff recruitment comprised the appointment of 13 plumbers, as well as 1 Senior Superintendent, 2 Superintendents and 6 Installation Inspectors.
- Sourcing external capacity to augment internal capacity – Contractors were procured to assist in leak detection and fixing.
- Intensification of the Assistance To The Poor (ATTP) Programme – This programme inter alia ensures that internal leaks in indigent local households are fixed.
- Serving notices to schools that consistently record high consumption.
- Installing water demand management devices at schools to stop water abuse.
- Training Peace Officers authorised to issue fines to water abusers and enforce the NMBM Water & Sanitation Bylaw.
- A 10-year business plan was developed and approved by Council to deal with the major problem of non-revenue water, as well as bulk water supply and meters; remote meter reading; pressure management and billing management; water and sanitation tariffs; leak repairs; operations and maintenance; domestic meter audits; valve and hydrant audits; water meter replacement; reservoir rehabilitation; and community awareness.
We urge all our stakeholders to be vigilant in the protection of our water infrastructure, as water disruptions are occurring as a result of theft and vandalism at reservoirs and pump installations.
We thank all our residents and stakeholders for working with us to mitigate the impact of the water shortage. We require the active participation of each and every resident to ensure water sustainability in our City.
Please take up the challenge of bringing our consumption down to 250 megalitres a day.
Scientific Services Laboratory: Can anyone get their water tested by Scientific Services?
Yes, but as a private client, which will be billed into your Municipal account. If you’re a consumer of NMBM drinking water with a water quality complaint, the complaint must be reported on 0860 205050 and the Water Division will get the water tested.
What is the cost involved to have a water meter tested?
What is the municipality doing to restrict high-consumption households consistently using more than 30 kilolitres?
STILL USING WATER FREELY? SEE WHAT THE MUNICIPALITY WILL DO…
Our supply dams stand at less than 24% – and the water levels are still dropping.
As part of its water-saving measures, the Municipality is currently installing flow meter restrictors for high-consumption households consistently using more than 30 kilolitres of water per month.
These meters allow a water supply to each household from 5am every day until the daily limit of 1 000 litres per household is reached. The meter then automatically turns off the water supply until 5am the next morning.
Please monitor your water consumption and avoid having your water restricted!
Note: Tampering with the flow meter restrictor is a criminal offence. You will be prosecuted.
For more information, call 0800 20 50 50
When does part A, B and C of the NMBM water tariffs kick in?
Water restrictions/ Critical stage when the water situation is becoming critical and dam levels keep on dropping with disrupted rainfall patterns
Disaster / Emergency
Drought – a further level of severe conditions when we are in the same situation as Cape Town
Who is responsible for fixing water leaks on private properties?
The Municipality maintains and repairs the water mains up to the water meter. The area from the meter to the taps is the responsibility of the owner or tenant, depending on the lease agreement.
If you have a leak on your property, contact a private plumbing contractor to make the necessary repairs. It is in your own interest to have a leak repaired immediately, as you will be charged at a higher rate as your consumption increases. If there is a burst pipe or leak on a roadway or pavement, report it to the Municipality’s Water Services. It is illegal for a consumer or private contractor to tamper with a water meter.
Water Services: 24/7 Call Centre on tel 0800 20 5050 or email@example.com
Trade Effluent Permits
How to obtain a Trade Effluent Permit?
Download an application form here. Populate the application form and attach a copy of the latest municipal approved drainage plan as well as a copy of the premises’ municipal utility bill, not older than three months. Submit these to firstname.lastname@example.org . On receipt of these documents, a Trade Effluent Inspector will visit the contributor’s premises to collect trade effluent samples at a representative point within the premises’ drainage system. A minimum of approximately four samples will be collected to ascertain the wastewater effluent strength discharged by the contributor. If the analysed samples are compliant the stipulated parameters a permit will be processed and sent via post. If the analysed samples do not comply a mitigation plan must be submitted and implemented prior to issuing of the permit. For any further clarity please contact. Trade Effluent Inspectorate at Telephone No. 041 – 506 2208 or Email: email@example.com.
What is a Trade Effluent Permit?
All commercial, industrial and institutional effluent discharged into a municipal sewer must be registered with Trade Effluent Inspectorate in order to be granted a Trade Effluent Permit. The permit is issued in terms of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) – Water and Sanitation Services Bylaw and it allows for the wastewater effluent from the premises within the NMBM’s jurisdiction that meet specific standard of quality to be discharged into the sewer network. The permit is an authority granted by NMBM to a contributor which discharges an effluent whose strength exceeds that of normal domestic strength.
What is a Trade Effluent Permit?
Who is required to have a Trade Effluent Permit?
All commercial, industrial and institutional entities, e.g. Restaurants, Butcheries, Hotels, Manufacturing and Production centres, Car Washing Facilities, Medical and Educational Institutions, and so forth.
Why do I need to have a Trade Effluent Permit?
To ensure all contributors categorized as industrial, commercial and institutional comply with the Water & Sanitation Services Bylaw in terms of effluent discharge into the municipal sewer network. Compliance assist to prolong the life span of the sewerage infrastructure for both conveyance and treatment systems.