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UD-Express
Metro’s water crisis worsens

THE recent decision to revoke the classification of the ongoing drought as a national disaster, and the lapsing of the Eastern Cape provincial drought disaster declaration, could have dire consequences for the province.

While other provinces across the country may have received much needed rain over recent months, the Eastern Cape, and specifically the western half of the province, is still facing severe water shortages.

Retief Odendaal, MPL - DA EC Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform on Monday said in a press release that this has had a crippling impact on agriculture in the province and is also posing a significant risk to residents as well, with many taps running dry.

“Nelson Mandela Bay is of great concern, as the metro faces the challenge of ensuring funds to upgrade its existing water infrastructure to mitigate the loss of supply when the dams run dry,” said Odendaal.

The Kouga Dam is the biggest storage dam in the region and is one of the dams providing Nelson Mandela Bay with water. This dam is currently at only 7.18% of capacity and also supplies the Kouga Municipality and farmers in the Gamtoos Valley with water.

“As from 1 July 2020, the water allocations to both the Kouga Municipality and the Gamtoos Valley farmers’ have been severely restricted by the Department of Water Affairs, with farmers allocation cut by a staggering 80% of their normal allocation.”

Across the province farmers in smaller towns such as Willowmore, Steytlerville and Aberdeen are on their knees and have received little to no assistance from the Eastern Cape Government.

“I have subsequently written to Dr Mmaphaka Tau, Head of the National Disaster Management Centre, and urged him to liaise with the Eastern Cape government regarding the ongoing drought in the province.

“I have also written to Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Xolile Nqatha, and the MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR), Nomakhosazana Meth, to implore them to consider once again declaring a Provincial Drought Disaster. This will allow provincial government to lobby for additional drought mitigation funding from national government to come to the rescue of the hard-hit municipalities and farmers.

“Government needs to act now, if there is to be any hope to save our province and its people from this ongoing drought disaster,” said Odendaal.

  • On Monday the levels of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole’s major storage dams were as follows: Kouga Dam 7.18%; Churchill Dam 53.37%; Impofu Dam 16.97%; Groendal Dam 27.53%. Total: 17.84%
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