THE Department of Water and Sanitation in KwaZulu-Natal is set to roll out an Emergency Drought Mitigation Plan in areas affected by drought in the province. This comes as Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her counterpart, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, set clear directives to address drought challenges in a joint Ministers and Members of Executive Councils (MINMEC) Meeting that was held in Johannesburg last week.The Emergency Drought Mitigation Plan comprises of short-, medium- and long-term interventions designed to mitigate drought effects.The short -term interventions are expected to be implemented over a period of three to six months, starting in February.Currently, 256 towns and surrounding communities are reported to be affected by drought. Hotspot areas identified include the UThukela , uMzinyathi , Amajuba, Zululand, uThungulu, and uMgungundlovu. As such, the Department has since set aside approximately R97 million in the short-term for drought intervention in the province. Some of the short-term interventions to be implemented will include implementing drought operating rules, groundwater resource development, water tankering from available sources, rainwater harvesting and the protection and use of springs, among others. The department has already begun providing the necessary support to communities affected through various action programmes. The New Borehole Programme has identified 1 118 new boreholes, 3 000 water tanks have been made available to provide water to affected communities, and there is ongoing assessment for the refurbishment of boreholes. Minister Sisulu has since called on locals to enhance water conservation measures as the provincial dam storage capacity remains below average at 54,9%. — Supplied.