South Africa pours funds into drought relief

16 July 2015

The Department of Water and Sanitation has invested R352-million in assisting KwaZulu-Natal to respond to the immediate challenges of water scarcity.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Makonyane, who is visiting affected areas in the province, said the provincial government declared in December 2014 that it was in a crisis. “The current drought has been identified as being the worst since 1992,” she said yesterday.

Out of 14 water services authorities in the province, four were adversely affected. These covered the Lower South Coast, Illembe District Municipality, Richards Bay and Umkhanyakude District Municipality. “Previously, the eThekwini and Amajuba municipal areas were not included in areas under water pressures, but a recent assessment has since dictated that drought alerts and relief efforts be directed to these two areas as well,” said Makonyane.

Conserving water

“We are encouraged that our people have taken seriously the call to conserve what we have and to use the available water resources sparingly. Water is a scarce resource with no substitute and we must change our water use patterns if we are to preserve this resource and ensure supply meets demand,” she said.

“We have witnessed a significant decline in the pace of water outflows from our dams since the water rationing commenced.”

The drought in KwaZulu-Natal was due to low rainfall patterns and issues of climate change, among other things. “We have invested R352-million to assist the province’s response to the immediate challenges of water scarcity.

“These resources have been used to ensure boreholes are drilled, water is ferried to communities in need and innovative solutions are implemented to promote the efficient use of water in households.

“We are pleased to share that the Lower Tugela Water Scheme will be operational by June 2016 to supply the North Coast with water and ease current pressures,” she said.

As part of the mid-term solutions, the Hazelmere Dam wall would be raised to increase its storage capacity.

Source: News24Wire