Boreholes run dry in uMzinyathi

2011-11-09 00:00

THE uMzinyathi District Municipality has embarked on a campaign to raise the R3,8billion required to eradicate a water shortage that affects more than 30% of the district’s residents.

In an interview with uMzinyathi Mayor James Mthethwa during the sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Nquthu yesterday about what his municipality is doing to resolve the water crisis, Mthethwa said R3,8 billion is needed to fund water schemes to ensure all four municipalities in the district have a sustainable water supply.

Mzinyathi district is 93% rural and was declared a nodal point by former president Thabo Mbeki about a decade ago.

During the outbreak of cholera at the beginning of the 2000s, Nquthu and Msinga municipalities were among the areas worst affected by the water-borne disease. A third of the residents in this district don’t have running water.

Mthethwa said more than 400 schools in the district don’t have water and toilets and the Education Department has to hire mobile toilets at R60 000 per month for each school.

Through the proposed water scheme for the district, Mthethwa said, the municipality will manage to cut the 33% water backlog and also supply water to affected schools.

“Through the help from the national and provincial governments, we are about to clinch a loan deal to fund our water scheme and should this happen, by the end of our five-year term the water crisis would be a problem of the past.

“We appeal to our communities to bear with us as we attempt to make things happen for them,”Mthethwa said.

“Once we resolve the water crisis, the sanitation and agricultural programmes will be next in line.’’

The director of technical services in uMzinyathi, Thami Malunga, said boreholes are the main source of water in the area. They were commissioned by the previous administration.

“There are 9 000 boreholes that are operational, while more than 20 000 have dried up.

“This has put the municipality at a great loss as each borehole costs about R55 000 to install and this is also not a sustainable water supply system as boreholes can dry up at any time,’’ Malunga said.

He said the municipality’s strategy is to develop one main source of sustainable water supply for each of their four municipalities, adding that “thousands of temporary jobs” will be created during the construction.

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