Eastern Cape drought: Municipality imposes water rationing as dam levels drop

2020-01-02 14:02
The remains of one of Kgotlaetsile Mongale’s cows that perished in the drought in Disaneng village outside Mahikeng. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

The remains of one of Kgotlaetsile Mongale’s cows that perished in the drought in Disaneng village outside Mahikeng. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

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The Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) has imposed water rationing as dam levels continue to drop in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape due to a lack of rain.

The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DWS) said in a statement the Eastern Cape was one of the provinces affected by the drought, particularly Butterworth and surrounding areas in the Amathole District Municipality (ADM).

"In the area of [the] ADM, which includes Butterworth, the reality of the river being dry at the Kei Bridge is what is being faced," department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

"The DWS has released water from the Wriggles [wade] Dam in the last week and this water is expected to take about two weeks to reach Kei Bridge for water tankers to receive water from the water treatment plant at Kei Bridge."

READ | Five years of thirst: Eastern Cape battles brutal drought

He added that boreholes drilled in the area did not yield the desired result in alleviating the drought crisis. 

"In the absence of rains and therefore run-off and recharge of water sources, even the ground water runs out.

"With regards to the situation around Queenstown, the dam level continues to drop, also due to a lack of rain. The CHDM has imposed water rationing to assist with water availability over a longer period."

The department will also send water tankers, at a cost, to the department.

"The challenge of the drought can only be permanently resolved by the arrival of much-anticipated rain.

"In the meantime, as the... provincial government did declare a provincial drought, the process to finalise the relevant type and size of assistance rests with the national disaster management centre, made up of a number of ministries and departments, including Cogta, agriculture and land reform, the DWS, environmental affairs and National Treasury."

In a statement, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu urged South Africans to be responsible: "This is not a small or trivial matter and government, at the level of Cabinet, continues to be seized with the need to alleviate the plight that emanates from this unfortunate act of nature."

Read more on:    eastern cape  |  drought
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