Poor water infrastructure led to state of drought disaster in 8 provinces - Dept

2016-06-10 05:38
(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Bloemfontein – Poor water-related infrastructure in the country has resulted in a state of disaster being declared in eight provinces as drought reaches critical levels, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said on Thursday.  

Cogta Minister Des van Rooyen said the drought conditions experienced in most parts of the country were as a result of natural phenomenon that were characterised by below normal rainfalls and increased maximum temperatures and heatwaves.  

He said these conditions have resulted in eight provinces being declared states of disaster, with the exception being Gauteng.

Recently, farmers who are unable to harvest crops and feed livestock have been the most affected as the country continues to battle the shortage of water. 

"... we have intervened in many parts of the country, with the assistance of state-owned entities, private sector and non-governmental organisations," Van Rooyen said in a statement.

The interventions included the drilling of boreholes and distribution of millions of litres of drinking water.  

Identifying hotspots

He also said conditions were exacerbated by the poor state of water-related infrastructure, water losses and the lack of implementation of stringent water conservation measures in affected areas.

However, a meeting was held with the Extended National Drought Joint Co-ordination Committee to determine areas regarded as hotspots.

"The drought situation is still gloomy. Disasters do not happen in a vacuum, but in communities where people stay. Among the measures that should be considered in addressing the drought conditions are disaster management plans and other seasonal related contingency plans.

"Our people do not have much information. There should be increased communication of drought-related information to all communities. We should ensure implementation of disaster risk management, with an emphasis on disaster risk reduction," said Minister van Rooyen.

Read more on:    cogta  |  des van rooyen  |  water

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