State of disaster declared

2017-06-08 06:02

A state of disaster has been declared in Kouga as the drought continues across the region.

The prolonged drought and its impact on Kouga’s water sources have prompted the Kouga Council to declare a local state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act (57 of 2002).

The declaration was made at a Council meeting on May 31, during which the implementation of the municipality’s Part C emergency water tariffs was also approved.

Water restrictions and Part B (critical, but not emergency) water tariffs have been in place in the Kouga municipal region since December 2016.

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen says the declaration of a local state of disaster will now be promulgated in the Provincial Gazette.

“If the drought conditions persist and dam levels continue dropping, it will have disastrous and far-reaching negative implications for the region as a whole,” she says.

“The municipal administration is finalising an emergency action plan for implementation. This would include increasing consumer education and the sinking of additional boreholes.

“Once the declaration has been gazetted, the municipality will be able to apply for funding assistance from provincial and national government to implement the emergency measures.”

Van Lingen says the declaration would also assist with the identification of resources, personnel and funds to be allocated for water conservation and demand management initiatives.

The declaration by the Kouga Council follows days after a similar declaration by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Kouga purchases most of its water for domestic use from the Metro, which manages the dams on behalf of the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Dam levels have been dropping between 3% and 4% per month and could reach dead storage in about four months. This is the lowest point below which water cannot be abstracted.

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