People who use excessive amounts of water in Nelson Mandela Bay can soon expect a visit from executive mayor Retief Odendaal.

Nelson Mandela University has made good progress in implementing alternative water sources to ensure the institution can be less reliant on municipal supplies.

Places where many people gather to work, study or live, and where they do not pay the water bill directly, are magnets for high water consumption.

The reality of Day Zero when taps are dry has been a rude awakening, with many in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro no longer taking fresh running water for granted, including our students.


The South African Weather Service is watching the development of a weather system that could end the debilitating seven-year drought in Nelson Mandela Bay this weekend, but one forecaster says it might still be too early to tell.

Interventions to ensure the long-term sustainability of Nelson Mandela University, especially in the face of the present crippling drought, are gaining traction. 

Nelson Mandela University is implementing a series of interventions to monitor the quality of water on its campuses, given the present water shortages across the Metro.

With no significant rain predicted for the drought-stricken Nelson Mandela Bay in the next few weeks, weatherman Garth Sampson said the drought could, in theory, continue for another six years.

We cannot think short term anymore.  Our campuses will face drought again. Whatever planning and funding is allocated, we will endeavour to ensure business continuity and water security going forward.”

Staff and students will return to a number of changes on its Gqeberha campuses at the start of the second semester - all aimed at better managing the Metro’s dwindling water supply.

The University continues to implement measures to manage the water crisis with various divisions introducing, and leading by example, with their own plans to this end.

Nelson Mandela University, like every other organisation, business, home and individual in the Metro, is grateful for the recent rains, but recognises that the water crisis is far from over.

This piece was featured on BBC News on 4 July 2022

The recent rains have given Nelson Mandela Bay, inclusive of Nelson Mandela University’s campuses, a welcome reprieve from Day Zero when the taps run dry.

Plans to support basic emergency relief efforts ahead of a looming Day Zero are ongoing which will see the closure of certain ablution blocks, the addition of portable toilets and securing of fresh drinking water at key locations.

Drought-stricken Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro got some rain on Thursday, 23 June, but the water-supply outlook for the area remained dire.

The ablution facilities on ALL the 1st and 2nd Floors at North Campus will be locked during the Water Crisis.

Unless there is a large amount of rain in the next few days, about half-a-million people in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro will not have easy access to water as taps are running dry.

With less than a week of water left in the dams, the Nelson Mandela Bay metro has called every plumbing contractor on their books, giving them five days to fix more than 3,000 leaks in a city that will soon run out of water.

The next few days and weeks will be critical for Nelson Mandela University in navigating the initial challenges of Day Zero when the taps run dry before the institution is able to introduce alternative water supplies to its affected campuses.

The Nelson Mandea Bay Business Chamber sends an urgent appeal for businesses to save water.
This news piece was broadcast on SABC TV in October 2019.
Senior Lecturer and Geohydrolgist at Mandela University, Dr Gaathier Mahed was invited on a panel to discuss what is needed to deal wth Cape Town's bursting water infrastructure.

Nelson Mandela University is actively preparing for Day Zero with a series of plans and interventions to ensure that students are able to complete the 2022 Academic Year, starting with basic emergency water support and portable toilets through the forthcoming examination period.

All staff and students are called to urgently save water. We are days away from Day Zero, as is captured in this sobering article in the Daily Maverick.

While KwaZulu/Natal assesses the devastating impact of recent heavy downpours there, Nelson Mandela Bay finds itself spiralling towards the reality of Day Zero.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057