Taps finally run dry

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 May 2010

THE taps in Chintsa East have finally run dry and residents are now forced to rely on a limited water supply trucked in to town each day.

Plans are under way to pump water from a borehole at the neighbouring Inkwenkwezi game reserve.

The level of the Chintsa dam has been at zero for a while, and over the last three weeks, Amathole District Municipality (ADM) has had to truck in water. However, last week people in Cefane River Township apparently went without water for three days. Presently, 200 kilolitres of water is being transported to the seaside town on a daily basis.

Local resident Rudi Dahlhauser said he was frustrated with ADM – the Great Kei Municipality’s water service provider – for not informing residents of their long-term plans. “We do have water at the moment, but if just one truck were to break down, plenty of people will be without water,” Dahlhauser said.

“As a small town we are dependent on the (brought in) water, but the people in Cefane River township were without any water over the weekend. “If there is no end to the water crisis … property valuations will decrease and it will have a negative effect on the town.”

When the Daily Dispatch arrived at the Chintsa dam on Wednesday, ADM area manager for the Great Kei region Chuma Mgcodo was evaluating the situation. Mgcodo assured residents that ADM was serious about improving the water supply, and was working on pumping water from a borehole at Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve.

He also confirmed that a tender had been awarded to lay pipes from the game reserve to the water treatment plant in Chintsa. Meanwhile, residents are feeling the pinch. The owner of Schafli Manor guesthouse, JJ Brown, said he felt embarrassed when he had to turn away guests on Monday because he had no water. “For the first time in eight years I had to turn guests away. I’m not even sure if I should take more bookings because there is no guarantee that I will have water.”

Brown added that while he was concerned about the future of his own business, he was equally worried about other residents in the area. “I also had to help some of the people in the township, to give them water, because they had nothing for almost three days.”

Chintsa East Ratepayers and Residents’ Association chairperson, Mike Denison said it was a frustrating situation, but acknowledged that ADM was trying to fix the problem. “We have to appreciate and take cognisance of ADM’s struggle, but this is now an emergency situation.”

– Justin Lawrence
Source: Dispatch Online

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