Amathole drought plan

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 November 2010

The Amathole District Municipality (ADM) has ratified the executive mayor’s approval of R78.55 million from their reserves for drought relief.

Carting water to drought affected areas is not sustainable. Photo by: Theo Jeptha

ADM’s Executive Mayor Sakhumzi Somyo said that an aggressive plan would be implemented soon to assist communities, and also that the drought was worsening.

The ADM plan includes:

  • Ongoing publicity campaigns about the drought and conserving water;
  • Undertak ing groundwater investigations in affected areas;
  • If groundwater investigation is successful, equip boreholes;
  • If groundwater investigation is not successful or only partially successful, supplement with desalination in coastal areas;
  • In inland areas, where groundwater is not an option, other surface water supplies should be investigated;
  • Water re-use should be considered as an immediate quick-win solution in all drought affected areas with waste water treatment works;
  • Water conservation and demand management initiatives should be implemented in all areas. This is to include ensuring all consumers are metered; zone meters had been installed in billing areas;
  • A water management information system will be installed;
  • Scooping or cleaning some of the empty dams, where this is feasible.

Gail Pullen, spokesperson for ADM, said the funding would be spent in the current financial year ending in June 2011. She said a mobile desalination plant in Chintsa would come on tap by December, which would help improve water supply to the area.

“In Cathcart we have equipped three boreholes and may have to tank in water from Kei Road if necessary. “We will also be exploring water re-use options in Cathcart and conducting groundwater investigations,” she said.

Water re-use options in Butterworth, Dutywa, Bedford and Adelaide would also be looked at. “In Hogsback we have been approached to scoop out the gravel in the dam, and we have agreed to this proposal. The dam wall is currently being repaired.

“W e are doing all we can to ensure that our communities have at least a basic supply of water.”

Drought conditions in ADM are worsening by the day and carting water to drought affected areas is not sustainable.

Source: Dispatch

Municipality to supply water to 27000 people

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 11 September 2010

In an attempt to combat its water problems, Amathole District Municipality (ADM) yesterday launched a project worth R110 million to supply water to villages where dams have run dry.

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

EC Farmers face Financial Ruin

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

LAST week’s rains may have brought some relief for drought-stricken Eastern Cape farmers, but many are facing financial ruin if more does not fall soon.

Caught in one of the worst droughts in living memory, some farmers on the Sunshine Coast and Albany areas have even sold off cattle while others have been forced to truck in water in a desperate attempt to survive.

And while farmers stare down possible financial ruin, several towns in the district have imposed water restrictions as supplies reach dangerously low levels.

According to Agri-Eastern Cape president Kerneels Pietersen the “hardest hit” areas in the province run from Peddie through Grahamstown, Alexandria, Nanaga and Paterson to the Langkloof.

“In some areas this is the worst drought in 70 years,” he said.

“Many farmers are facing financial ruin. We have had tens of thousands of applications from all over the province for drought relief.”

Although more than R126million was requested from central government to help thousands of Eastern Cape farmers survive only R20m disaster relief was approved.

According to rainfall data, last year produced the lowest annual average in the Ndlambe area in almost 50 years.

Alexandria dairy farmer Paul Klopper said most farmers were already so deep in debt “even the bank manager was having sleepless nights”.

“If we do not have proper rains soon many farmers will go bankrupt. It will be an economic disaster for the province.” Continue reading