Budget cuts to address drought

2018-03-22 06:01

RAINWATER harvesting is being rolled out to the Gamtoos Valley as part of Kouga Municipality’s ongoing efforts to achieve water security for its towns.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said a total of R770 000 was approved on the 2017/2018 adjustments budget to purchase and install rainwater tanks.

“Our first focus will be the towns of Hankey and Patensie, which are in the most immediate danger of running out of water,” she said. “Both towns depend on the Kouga Dam for water and the dam level has fallen to 11,55% this week.”

She said rainwater tanks would be installed at municipal buildings and other strategic locations at a cost of R500 000 while the remaining R270 000 would be used to install rainwater tanks at the homes of elderly and disabled residents.

“Our target is to install at least 40 rainwater tanks at the homes of vulnerable residents with this allocation.”

She said rainwater harvesting was also one of the programmes Kouga would be working on jointly with the German municipality Ilsfeld.

“Our proposal to Ilsfeld was for the installation of 750 tanks, gutters and plinths at Patensie and 1 100 at Hankey. The initial cost estimate for this is about R15-million.”

The Mayor said while the municipality would continue drilling for water at Hankey, the target aquifer is located very deep.

“We will need to use different drilling methods which cost far more and for which funding needs to be sourced.”

She said Council already had to reprioritise its annual budget to make funds available for the implementation of drought-relief mea-sures.

“Money for the upgrading of roads was just about cut in half - from R1,15 million to R650 000 – in October last year.

“We also had to reallocate the R2,5-million that was initially approved for the replacement of the water tower at the Jeffreys Bay Water Treatment Works and a further R2-million that had been set aside for an electrical transformer.”

She said further reallocations also had to be made during the adjustments budget process in February.

“The drought is a tremendous threat to all of Kouga’s people. We would like to thank residents for their efforts to save water and urge everyone to continue using water very sparingly.”

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