KZN farmers hardest hit by drought

2015-11-18 21:17


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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal farming community has thus far been the hardest hit during the national drought crisis, the provincial cabinet said.

It was announced on Wednesday that the preliminary assessment of the extent of damage to the province, especially to livestock and crops, stood at above R400m when the crisis initially hit last year, the cabinet said in a statement.

The statement comes after Umgeni Water said it would restrict water to iLembe District, Semcorp and parts of eThekwini Metro to 50% bulk water supply as Hazelmere Dam levels dropped to a dangerously low 25.8%.

KwaZulu-Natal's total drought relief allocation from national government to date is R443.7m. Of this R172.2m has been spent on the purchase of 45 water tankers and the delivery of water services by municipalities.

Cabinet further said that about 40 000 heads of cattle had been lost thus far.

“Despite the sporadic rainfall in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, it is mostly outside its catchment areas. The remaining water resources are only expected to last several weeks. As a result of this, stringent rationing is being rolled out to the affected communities.

“Water restrictions have been imposed on all users of these water systems. These restrictions are increasing in intensity as the dam levels continue to drop. Despite all these efforts, only partial success has been achieved in reducing the level of water consumption from the most affected dams.”

Speaking to News24, iLembe District Mayor Welcome Mdabe confirmed that it was likely that people would have to endure water shedding of up to eight hours a day.

“We have been battling with this issue for quite some time and it is not getting any better. We have partnered with people in the community and are trying hard to maintain water tankers and boreholes.

“The tankers are however very expensive costing us around R4 000 to R5 000 per day for just one. We will be making a joint statement next week with Umgeni Water to discuss logistics of distributing our now 50% supply.”

EThekwini Metro was yet to respond to queries on their plans to distribute the reduced water supply.

Read more on:    durban  |  weather  |  drought

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