Qwaqwa water crisis resurfaces

Residents in certain areas of Qwaqwa are struggling to get water despite the level of the Fika Patso Dam, which supplies the area with water, being at 71,1%.

It has emerged that water supply difficulties being experienced since Saturday (23/01) are due to protest action by workers who are demanding salaries.

Dissatisfied process controllers at Maluti-a-Phofung Water have apparently refused to report for work, leaving residents in despair.

Over 380 000 residents of the embattled Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality have reported that they have no water supply.

The water crisis in this municipality resurfaced barely weeks after Dr Roy Jankielsohn, DA leader in the Free State, wrote to Premier Sisi Ntombela, highlighting the water provision crisis in the province.

Much-needed rains have drastically improved the level of the Fika Patso Dam, which by December stood at 39%.

The level had improved by 7% and 10% respectively in January, following heavy downpours that caused sporadic floods in the Free State.

There is also a huge improvement to be noticed over the past ten years.

During the preceding severe drought residents survived on water supply from tanks.

The DA cited a lack of infrastructure maintenance as another major factor contributing to the desperation of residents.

“In some areas reservoirs were already very low due to load shedding, and a recent breakdown at the Wilge Water Treatment Plant, which supplies the greater Harrismith area, exacerbated the situation,” said Alison Oates, DA ward councillor.

  • The municipality’s view on the protest action was requested, but by the time of going to print no comment had yet been received.
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