Watergate – the Mayor Responds

Watergate  – the Mayor Responds

Mayor responds to rumours

The Municipality is aware of rumours about the management of our water infrastructure and that wild allegations are being thrown around about alleged mismanagement of our water resources. This kind of behaviour is extremely irresponsible, and is being driven by certain individuals with hidden agendas and dubious motives. It is a pity that quite a number of people are being swept along by these rumours, and some even participate in furthering these unfounded allegations.

Due to the drought, high evaporation levels, and increased consumption during the summer holidays the water level of our main storage dam, Grootkloof 3 (G3), reached alarmingly low levels fairly quickly during December and January. By mid-January G3’s level had dropped to 60% which necessitated Level2 Water restrictions to be implemented.

The rainfall since 17 January has lifted G3’s water level to 75% whilst 4 million liters are extracted on a daily basis for normal purification purposes. The only supply of water to G3 is via a pipeline which starts at the source of the Klippe river above Piekniekbos in the Langeberg. This system consists essentially of a 3,5 km underground pipeline until it is fed via an open channel or furrow for the last 800m into the G3 dam. There are no sluices or valves which can be closed in order to stop or restrict the flow of water in any part of the system.

Since the rains of 17 January this pipe/furrow system flowed optimally and without restriction or interference. At the current rate of flow the G3 dam ought to fill up within the next few days. Hopefully any water restrictions can be lifted soon.

It is simply false that the pipe/furrow system has not been flowing properly due to poor maintenance, blockages, or faults. In fact, since the rains of 17 January the system has been constantly monitored to check for any obstructions or excessive build-up of debris in the screens.

It is simply untrue that the pipe or open channel is not flowing optimally due to poor management or negligence. There are, for instance, no sluices which can or should have been opened because the system is permanently open. As long as water enters the system at the source of the Klippe river there will always be a supply flowing into G3.

I would like to appeal to the public not to engage in any rumour-mongering or gossiping about a sensitive issue such as water.

As Municipality we are acutely aware of the critically important role that water plays in our everyday lives. We remain committed to the optimal utilisation of our water resources in order to ensure the reliable delivery of potable water to all our people.



22 January 2020


  1. Noelene Cole

    Dear Mr. Mayor,
    Thank you for addressing this matter. My husband and I have been away for 3 weeks overseas and returned last week to stage 2 water rationing, not knowing anything about the situation but hearing all the “fake news” about what is the cause etc..
    I did ask one of the “rumour mongers” if she had gone to look at the dam and the reply was “no” but she believed all she had heard was true.
    Thank you for communicating the facts to us.

    1. Nicholas Myburgh

      Dear Noelene, thank you for bearing with us. We do mess up sometimes, and when we do I don’t mind taking the blame. What is really frustrating though is when we are falsely accused by the ‘armchair experts’ who seem to get a kick out of it! One chap, even after having been presented with photographic evidence, went so far as to say “I believe want I will!”

  2. Nicholas Myburgh

    Thank you Basil, much appreciated!

  3. Nicholas Myburgh

    Thank you Adin, your sentiments are highly appreciated. We do try, and will never deliberately fail you.

  4. Guillaumé

    It is very strange to me that I never heard of any of the rumours that are expressed here.
    It makes me feel, rightly or wrongly, that there is some other agenda or narrative, which would only come to a person who has peeked behind the curtain when the play is staged.


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