Drought leaves 20 000 without water in KZN

Another water service authority in KwaZulu-Natal, uThukela District Municipality, has been declared a disaster area in terms of the Disaster Management Act due to lack of rainfall.

The crisis is said to affect more than 20 000 people in the area, Ladysmith Gazette reported.

The impact of the drought conditions continues to grow at lndaka Local Municipality, as Oliphantskop Dam dries out daily. In the past seven days, the bottom of the dam (basin) has been extremely exposed.

The situation has prompted the leadership of uThukela District to conduct briefing meetings with the councillors, traditional leaders, community development workers and community representatives to discuss the drought crisis in the area.

The pumps have been switched off to prevent pumping out mud that might damage them. To further compound the situation attributed to the drought, the fish in the dam are now dying and causing huge problems, as their rotting bodies contaminate the remaining water.

This might cause even more complications if rain is not received, and subsequently the source will have to be cleaned to clear any poison as a result of dead fish prior to supplying water from this source to communities.

“What we need right now is rain to replenish our rivers and dams. We must all play our part to conserve water during this trying time,” said uThukela District Mayor Dudu Mazibuko.

Water restrictions will be implemented immediately across the district to ensure that everyone has water, even if the taps have run dry in some areas and that some degree of potable water supply is maintained.

Plans are in place to supply water through water tankers in the affected areas.

In July, uThungulu District in KwaZulu-Natal implemented level 3 water restrictions in the surrounding areas as water levels at dams and other sources continued to drop daily.

Authorities called the situation “dire”, as level 3 restrictions required a 70% cut in water usage by the agricultural sector, 30% by domestic users and 10% by industry.

Apart from poor rainfall over the last two years, weak infrastructure has been blamed for the current water shortages in the province.

A recent study by the University of Stellenbosch revealed that up to 40% of water in the province was being lost due to leaking pipes as well as other weaknesses within the water supply system.

“The water we lose to leaks, illegal connections, vandalism and lack of operations maintenance is unacceptable,” the minister for water and sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, said.

– Caxton News Service

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