Watershedding: Water shortages at Hankey and Patensie

2018-01-11 06:00

THE Gamtoos Valley towns of Hankey and Patensie face possible watershedding over the next few months due to looming water shortages.

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen says the towns had just about used up their water quotas for the year ending June 2018.

“The latest readings in December indicated that Hankey only had 9% of its quota left and Patensie 36%,” she says.

Hankey and Patensie both receive their bulk raw water from the Gamtoos Government Water Scheme, which is administered by the Gamtoos Irrigation Board. The scheme includes the Kouga Dam and the downstream canal system.

Van Lingen says the Department of Water and Sanitation had in July 2017 slashed the authorised maximum withdrawal for use by Hankey and Patensie by 25% because of the ongoing drought.

“What has made the decrease particularly challenging is that even under normal rainfall conditions, these allocations were insufficient in the past.”

She says that alternative water supply sources were being explored but that options were limited.

“We will be pumping water from the Klein River to the Hankey Water Treatment Works. Water will also be trucked in should it be necessary.

“These measures alone, however, might not be enough. We also need residents and business to play their part. Please use water extremely sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.”

She says boreholes will also be drilled to augment the water supply but that the geology of the area is not conducive to groundwater retention.

“Geophysics testing has already been conducted in the Hankey area and we are awaiting the results so that we can start drilling for water.

“Testing will then also be done in the vicinity of the Kouga Dam to identify other potential drilling sites. These processes, including the installation of the necessary infrastructure support, are only expected to be completed towards mid-2018.

Therefore, the risk of water shortages to Hankey and Patensie over the next few months is high and extreme measures such as watershedding might have to be implemented.”

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