S Cape drought intensifying

2010-05-25 21:22

Cape Town - The Western Cape water affairs department said on Tuesday that the drought in the southern Cape seemed to be deepening.

It said in a statement: "The winter season has arrived with promises of rains in the Western Cape.

"However, the southern parts of the province remain in the tight grip of a drought said to be the worst in 150 years.

"Current trends in the drought suggest that it is deepening, particularly towards the west in the areas of Mossel Bay, Riversdale and Heidelberg, where no prediction of relief can be made for the next three months."

Mitigation projects were being implemented in Mossel Bay, but further focused action was needed to ensure sufficient water for communities, the department said.

Current dam levels were the Garden Route Dam (20.6%), Wolwedans Dam (23% and declining), Korente Poort Dam (29.44%) and the Duiwenhoksdam (32%).

The department, in collaboration with the local government department's disaster management centre and Eden District Municipality, hosted a two day drought indaba in George.

National, provincial and local government, agriculture and industry discussed drought mitigating approaches to be applied to the various drought affected areas and provinces (Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo).

The southern Cape had been active in implementing its drought management plan by adopting a mix of approaches ranging from desalination of sea water in Sedgefield, re-using effluent, using ground water, and an ongoing all-round successful water awareness campaign.

The indaba highlighted that there were still problems at all the affected authorities, particularly in relation to the availability and accessibility of funds, poor participation of sector departments, as well as miscommunication and public perceptions of drought.