Gift of The Givers Plays its Part in Makhanda (Grahamstown)

A nation that takes care of its destitute, is a nation that instils in its people the ethos of active citizenship, of Ubuntu. This echo true for the citizens of Makhanda (Grahamstown) who reached out to Gift of the Givers for over the water crisis faced in the area.

Settlers Dam is at 13%, water cannot be extracted from the last 10% due to high silt levels, effectively it has 3% reserves. Waainek Water Treatment Works that receives water from the very much smaller Howiesons Poort Dam had a problem with its pumping capacity due to electrical failure recently and was out of service for a few days.

However, with rapidly dropping water levels in HP Dam, the Waainek Water Works will essentially shutdown. It supplies the West of the town with 8 Megaliters per day. The only feasible option is the James Kleynhans Water Works which is also compromised currently. It receives water from the Glen Melville Dam which in turn receives water from the Orange-Fish River scheme. But recent high content of mud that was released into the dam from the Fish River necessitated shutting down the pumps to allow for the mud to settle.

Currently 80000 people in parts of Makhanda east and 19 streets in Makhanda West are without water. The municipality and residents are using water tankers and bottled water to compensate but the shortfall is huge.

Days after the cry for help by the Makhanda community, the Gift of the Givers called on citizens across the country to assist. Dr Gideon Groenewald, Gift of the Givers specialist hydrologist, geologist, palaentologist, engaged the municipality to see what sustainable alternatives could be found in the immediate to medium term as work continues to double the capacity of the James Kleynhans Water Works to 20 Megalitres by 2020.

On the 13th February 2019, distribution of water and siting of boreholes took place. There were jubilant shouts of “amanzi”, with faces beaming in disbelief as people ran towards the Gift of the Givers trucks entering Grahamstown. Nine days of no water, nine days of desperation. The crowds, including many university students, gathered outside the municipality eagerly awaiting whatever they could get. Our teams commenced delivery whilst Dr Gideon Groenewald, Gift of the Givers hydrologist, briefed the media on the drought issue.

Dr Groenewald gave the municipality an in-depth presentation on various aspects of the drought with specific solution-oriented options focusing on boreholes as an immediate intervention for medium to long term relief.

After the presentation, Gift of the Givers teams distributed water in the water starved communities whilst Dr Groenewald commenced his “search” for underground water.

A special thank you to the magnificent team work, co-operation and commitment of the Municipality, SAPS, SANDF, RTI, volunteers and the community and a special thanks to generous South Africans.

Contributions can still be made into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Account Number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref. Drought, will be accepted. To obtain Section 18A tax benefit certificate please send proof of payment to donations@giftofthegivers.org

Details toll-free on 0800786911. Visit our website and Facebook page for updates.