Decent rainfall may have delayed Day Zero in Nelson Mandela Bay

Impofu dam in Port Elizabeth.

Impofu dam in Port Elizabeth.
Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile
  • Good rainfall measuring 20-37mm fell in Nelson Mandela Bay, pushing Day Zero slightly further back.
  • The local SA Weather Services office described the showers as a “breather”, but stressed it’s not enough to end the looming water crisis.
  • Nelson Mandela Bay is dangerously edging towards Day Zero due to a prolonged drought. 

The SA Weather Service in Gqeberha says solid overnight showers in the Nelson Mandela Bay area on Thursday night may well have delayed Day Zero, as dam levels are expected to rise after good rainfall in the area.

The weather authority has issued a yellow Level 2 warning for disruptive rain leading to the localised flooding of susceptible settlements both formal and informal.

Heavy rains, is also expected to flood roads and bridges in low lying areas in Walter Sisulu, Emalahleni, Intsika Yethu, Great Kei and Mnquma local municipalities.

READ | 36 days to go before Nelson Mandela Bay runs out of water

The weather authority also issued an orange Level 5 warning for disruptive rain leading to flooding over Ndlambe, Blue Crane, Raymond Mhlaba, Makama, Ngqushwa, Inxuba Yethemba, Amahlathi, Enoch Mgijima and Buffalo City Metro.

Nelson Mandela Bay has been locked in the grips of a prolonged drought, with the municipality announcing earlier this month that it was heading towards Day Zero.

A total of 107 areas in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro will be without water come June, as dam levels in the municipality are extremely low.

Residents have been criticized for continuously using 299ML of water per day, while demand should have been reduced to between 230 and 250ML per day.

The areas where taps are expected to run dry includes the western suburbs, the Uitenhage/KwaNobuhle area, as well as peri-urban areas such as Greenbushes and St Albans, where one of the Eastern Cape’s biggest prisons is situated.

SA Weather Services’ Gqeberha office spokesperson Garth Sampson said rain measuring between 20-37mm had been measured at various weather stations in the bay overnight on Thursday.

ALSO READ | Nelson Mandela Bay metro edging dangerously towards Day Zero as dam levels hover at 11%

Sampson said the effects of the rain on dam levels would only be known on Monday when water had flowed into dams from upper catchment areas.

He added:

I would say that I am hoping for a few percentages rise in dam levels, which will push Day Zero forward. However, we are not out of the woods yet, but have been given some breathing space, so other augmentation schemes come online, such as the boreholes and other.

“Let this breather keep Day Zero at bay,” he joked.

Sampson said the rain would persist until early Saturday morning, but added that it would be followed by about 10 dry days.

The weather service said it was expecting a significant drop in temperatures, with good chances of showers and thundershowers across the Eastern Cape on Saturday.

READ | Durban councillor swears resident asking for help after floods

Due to the significant downpours expected, there is a decent likelihood of flooding in areas over the province.

Moreover, due to the drop to freezing levels, there is a possibility of light snowfall over the high lying areas.

Showers and rain can be expected over most areas of the province on Saturday, with a good amount of rainfall along the Wild Coast.

The public is advised to check Weather SA’s official media platforms for the latest developments regarding forecast updates and warnings.

Very cold and wet conditions, with light snowfalls on the high mountain peaks resulting in isolated loss of vulnerable livestock, are expected to lash the Eastern Cape on Friday.

The SA Weather Services in Gqeberha cautioned motorists to drive with care as slippery, wet conditions could result in traffic disruption.