Water restrictions hit ‘Gwala’

2015-11-04 06:00
Kokstad Chamber of Commerce Margi Flemming urges Kokstad residents and businesses to use water sparingly. Photo: ntuntu dweba

Kokstad Chamber of Commerce Margi Flemming urges Kokstad residents and businesses to use water sparingly. Photo: ntuntu dweba

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THE Harry Gwala District Municipality has become the latest to announce major water restrictions as the drought crisis intensifies in KZN.

Ixopo and Kokstad are so far the most affected towns by drought. Ixopo Dam has reached a critically low level of 30% and mandatory curtailments in the distribution of water have commenced in many areas around the district. In a statement issued by her department, KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube said water restrictions are being implemented to mitigate the risk of supplying assurance in the short-term and to prevent the taps from running dry.

“As KZN Cogta we maintain that the drought crisis requires all citizens of the province to play their part in conserving water because water is everybody’s business and government and sector stakeholders cannot conserve it alone.

“The department has contingency plans to ensure that no resident goes without water even when the taps begin to run dry,” Dube-Ncube stated.

Harry Gwala District Municipality spokesperson Ndabezitha Tenza said the level of the Crystal Dam that supplies water to the Kokstad town and surrounding township has also dropped to below 30%.

“Due to the seriously low level of water in Crystal Dam, we have notified the community of Kokstad town, Extension 7, Bhongweni and Shayamoya areas about the water shortages. The water pressure will be reduced from 11am to 4pm and from 8pm to 4am every day,” Tenza said. Areas to be affected in Ixopo include Ixopo town, Morningside, Fairview and Hospital areas.

“Water production in the Ixopo Dam will be reduced from 2.8Ml/d to 2.5Ml/d as from today. Harry Gwala District Municipality has been in discussions with farmers upstream, who have three dams, to release immediately, but even with that plan it is necessary to implement water restrictions until the situation returns to normal,” Dube-Ncube said.

Kokstad Chamber of Commerce PRO Margi Flemming said they have noted the water crisis with great concern. “The matter of our current water availability is very worrying, there are leaks which are not dealt with for days or weeks, in a few cases even months, and there appears to be no visible attempt by the local and district municipality to deal with these efficiently and timeously. There appears to be a fair amount of contamination of our water systems too,” Flemming said.

"Without water for the production of food and drink, manufacturing and removal of waste, we will soon find ourselves in dire need of assistance.

“Many chamber members are dependent on water for their daily operations and in a worst-case scenario, should the water scarcity become severe enough, some businesses may be unable to operate at their usual levels, if at all. This could have an impact on the company's finances and in turn on how many staff are employed. As matters stand at the moment, this could be devastating to our local economy."

She said is increasingly important that all residents make every possible effort to save water and be water wise.

"The chamber calls on all community members as well as local and district municipalities to work together to deal with the water crisis for the benefit of the community as a matter of urgency.

“We ask that everyone be aware of their water usage, turn off dripping taps and use water sparingly," she said

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