Knysna crisis looms, as Akkerkloof Dam has water for just 20 days
Knysna Municipality has just been grappling with a fire problem of epic proportions, but the focus will now have to shift towards the massive water crisis facing the region.
The municipality reported, on Monday, that levels at the local Akkerkloof Dam had been reduced to a mere 33 percent, which officials say translates to about 20 days of water left. That is if the current rate of usage does not change.
Acting Municipal Manager, Johnny Douglas, said the municipality had hoped for some rain in the past week. However, the forecasted rainfall did not become a reality for the region. The 1mm of rain that the region got was simply not enough.
"Both the Gouna and Knysna Rivers that feed Knysna's off channel storage Akkerkloof Dam, have stopped flowing. The current water level of the Knysna River is a mere 100mm below the weir at Charlesford extraction point," said a concerned Douglas on Monday.
"Charlesford is Knysna's primary abstraction point, and with the level of water being so low we are unable to use all of our pumps to feed much-needed water into the balancing Glebe Dam, before being pumped into the Akkerkloof Dam that feeds Knysna with its water," added Douglas.
"The Glebe Dam is currently empty and the Akkerkloof Dam is 33 per cent full, which translates into 20 days of water at the current usage of 13.96Ml/day.
"We are in desperate need to reduce the town's water consumption as our technical team are managing to produce only 12.5Ml/day.
"The pipeline between the Glebe and Akkerkloof Dams received an upgrade during 2015 that resulted in an increase in the capacity of Knysna of the Akkerkloof Dam. With the current drought situation, it is impossible to pump water out of the rivers that just don't have the water, resulting in our dam levels dropping daily."
It is becoming increasingly clear that the situation will require intervention from the national Department of Water Affairs. Securing funding for an additional storage dam will be among the requests that are made by the Knysna Municipality.
"I have to commend our Technical team for the tireless work they performed in attending to the break in the water system and the numerous water leaks that resulted from these fires. We ask residents who may be experiencing water outages to call our Water report number 044 302 6331."
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