Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 11 September 2010
The district was declared a disaster area by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica in July last year, as levels reached a critical point. Since then, ADM has established a joint operations committee to develop a drought action plan.
ADM spokesperson Gail Pullen said: “Funding application for drought relief was made in the amount of R156 million and to date the municipality has received only R12.4 million from national Treasury in this new financial year.”
Yesterday, ADM launched its infrastructure project at Ehlobo in the Mnquma Municipality (Butterworth and surrounds), which will supply potable water to 27150 people in 38 villages.
Currently, the villages source their water from streams and springs which are subject to seasonal variations and do not provide an assured water supply. Similar projects will be launched in Amahlathi (Stutterheim and Cathcart) and Mbhashe (Dutywa and Willowvale) municipalities.
Plans by ADM to upgrade infrastructure come as various towns in the district record lower than normal dam levels. “The Butterworth and Dutywa areas have a looming water crisis as the Xilinxa Dam, which provides water to these areas, is now at 29.8percent,” said Pullen. This means only four to five weeks of water is left – unless it rains.
South African Weather Services’ Port Elizabeth-based forecaster Mandisa Manentsa said there was a 30 percent chance of rain today in the areas along the coast and adjacent areas, such as Dutywa and Butterworth, but no rainfall was expected next week.
ADM also reported that the Cathcart Dam was empty and the community now relied on borehole water. Local farmer Bruce Fletcher said the situation is bad. “There’s nothing in town and on the farms. We are praying for the big rains.”
The Bridledrift Dam, which is Buffalo City’s basic water supply, is at 19percent.
By: Xolisa Mgwatyu
Source: Dispatch Online