Municipalities donate water tanks to struggling Msukaligwa

2013-01-15 16:22

The Msukaligwa municipality in Mpumalanga has received donations of 81 water tanks to be placed at strategic places for its communities to access water.

More than 26 000 household in the northern part of Ermelo and the nearby Wesselton township have been without water for about six weeks and four months respectively after two dams went dry.

The Douglas dam is completely dry while the Brummer dam is now about 10% full.

Msukaligwa spokesperson Mandla Zwane said the jojo tanks were donated by the department of water affairs, Mkhondo (Piet Retief) and Albert Luthuli (Carolina) local municipalities.

“They will be placed within 200 metres of the affected households. A contractor will soon be starting to build slabs (on which) to put the tanks,” Zwane said.

Msukaligwa has meanwhile hired trucks to deliver water to the communities at a cost of about R530 000 a month.

Well-off suburban households have put up their own tanks, while others draw water from boreholes.

Mpumalanga water affairs head Fikile Guma said the department would allocate an infrastructure grant to assist the municipality in the next financial year.

A comprehensive study on the cause of the water shortages has not been done but little rainfall is widely considered to be a major factor.

Others reasons are the unrestricted mining activities happening upstream on the Vaal River catchment, which left very little water flowing to the dams.

The municipality’s rundown infrastructure that leaks clean water, lack of maintenance and the absence of a water plan in line with the area’s population and business growth are other factors.

The Ermelo Business Association said it warned the municipality 18 months ago about the looming water crisis and recently offered to donated R9 million to remove silt that has been building up in the two dams since the 1950s.

Msukaligwa politicians refused the offer, because it would not solve the problem.

A local engineer said removing the silt would make the dams deeper and increase their capacity but that was a long-term plan, which would not immediately solve the water shortage.

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