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Slight improvement in Eastern Cape dam levels: DWS

Jan 23, 2020
Slight improvement in Eastern Cape dam levels: DWS

Port ElizabethEastern Cape dams are making a steady recovery although large parts of the province remain dry as a result of a severe drought, according to the latest report by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

The report shows that, even though dams are still below half, in the past week they have risen from 46,4% to 47,3%, thanks to the sporadic rains The figure represents a 10% drop compared to the same period last year when they stood at 57,1%.

"The volume of water that is stored in the province’s reservoirs is estimated at 856,8 cubic metres for a full capacity of 15 653 cubic metres," explained DWS Media Liaison Director, Sputnik Ratau.

"However, the government has pulled all the stops to alleviate the situation in drought stricken areas.

"In a bid to salvage the situation, the three spheres of government have clubbed together and DWS allocated a total R723 million as part of its intervention for the Financial Years 2018/19/20."

Ratau said that at the beginning of the year, the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu, together with Deputy Minister David Mahlobo and Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete met the Eastern Cape Executive Council discuss plans to mitigate the on-going drought in the province.

"The department will also look at the installation of a pipeline that will take water from Tsomo River to a water treatment plant in Ngqamakhwe, and finally move water to Butterworth," he described.

"At the moment groundwater is the only source available in Butterworth. Such groundwater is not always of the best quality which needs to be treated for human consumption.

"In the Enoch Mgijima region in the Chris Hani District Municipality, a borehole for water supply was erected to cover several towns and villages that are affected by the drought.

"Also, the department developed a groundwater project that includes drilling, testing and equipping of boreholes in Joe Gqabi district where eight towns are affected by the drought after Orange River ran dry.

"They are the towns of Barkley East, Maclear, Ugie, Mt. Fletcher, Gemstown, Aliwal North, Burgersdorp and Lady Grey."

Ratau said that in November 2019 the department partnered with the Joe Gqabi District Municipality, Farmers Associations and other sectors to form a Joint Operations Committee (JoC) to fight water challenges in the region.

"The situation in the region is so dire and it needed the three spheres of government to work together to mitigate the effects of drought."

Other interventions in the province include:

- Sarah Baartman District Municipality – installation and refurbishment of boreholes
- Kouga Local Municipality: Groundwater development
- Kouga Local Municipality: Hankey development of groundwater
- Kouga Local Municipality: Jeffrey's Bay development of boreholes
- Kouga Local Municipality: Humansdorp equipping boreholes
- Kouga Local Municipality: Cape Francis equipping boreholes
- Kouga Local Municipality: Oyster Bay equipping boreholes
- Koukamma Local Municipality: Clarkson: Drilling of production boreholes
- Koukamma Local Municipality: Langkloof Settlement: Incremental groundwater development
- Ndlhambe Local Municipality: Augmentation of water supply through water conservation and demand management
- Sunday Rivier Valley Local Municipality: Leaks reduction by installing pressure reduction valves and repairing burst pipes
- Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality: Installation of metres
- Makana Local Municipality: Grahamstown groundwater development

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