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Area of Supply

The Amatole Water Supply System serves some 1.0 million people, providing water to the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) and certain communities in the Amahlathi and Ngqushwa Local Municipalities, as well as to irrigators along the upper and middle reaches of the Kubusi River. This area is the second largest contributor to the Eastern Cape economy after Port Elizabeth and surrounding area, but is the economic hub of the Border-KeI region.

Planning for the Amatole Supply System

The Amatole Water Supply System Reconciliation Strategy was completed in 2008. The Strategy has as its aim to reconcile future water requirements with supply over a 30-year planning horizon, and to provide a framework for decision-making.

Strategy Steering Committee

A Strategy Steering Committee was formed in June 2009, and comprises of representatives from provincial government departments involved in water resources management, the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, the Amatola Water Board, the Amathole District Municipality, the Kubusi Irrigation Board, organized business and agriculture, as well as the DWS regional and national offices. The Strategy Steering Committee actively monitors the implementation of the Strategy by all role-players and reviews and updates the Strategy on an annual basis. This updated situation and strategy is contained in the 2012 Status Report and is discussed below.

Water requirements and availability

The accompanying graph shows the current system yield and the expected growth in the ‘high water requirement’ to 2041, both with and without the possible extension of the supply area into the Great Kei Local Municipality (a possible scenario). These requirements are shown both with and without the successful implementation of water conservation and water demand management (WC/WDM) measures, as targeted in the approved BCMM WC/WDM Strategy. The graph shows that without implementing the WC/WDM measures, the System will be in deficit by 2021, but that this can be delayed to 2026 with the successful implementation of the WC/WDM measures.

Amatole Water Supply System Graph

Supply interventions to meet future needs

Any of the following intervention options could be implemented to address the expected deficit in 2021:

  1. Integrated system operation
    By amending the current operating rules, the system yield could be increased to 108.1 million m3/a. This would delay the system going into deficit to 2026 without implementing the WC/WDM measures, and to 2032 with the successful implementation of the WC/WDM measures
  2. Re-use of water
    The BCMM is currently preparing a Water Re-use Strategy, which should be adopted later in 2012 or early in during 2013. Opportunities for water re-use are however integral to the new regional waste water treatment works being implemented at Reeston and Zwelitsha.

Successful implementation of WC/WDM

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality has provided for, and is implementing, a 5-year water conservation and water demand management strategy. The successful implementation of this strategy is crucial to ensure adequate supplies are available from the system over the short-term, as a new surface water supply scheme cannot be implemented before the system goes into deficit, and as there is inadequate demand for water re-use, without considering re-use for potable purposes.

A new Surface water scheme could only be implemented by 2022. The planning for a new surface water scheme is however currently based on WC/WDM being 100% effective, i.e. first water required by 2026. A screening of options workshop was non-the-less held during March 2012 in preparation for the above, with 3 options being shortlisted for further more in-depth study.

The Strategy Steering Committee will therefore work with the City to ensure that WC/WDM is effective.