The Eastern Cape is facing water restrictions of 80% to avoid a looming water crisis across several towns in Gamtoos Valley as the Kouga dam’s water levels drop to 6.8%.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) plans to introduce the restrictions after meeting with farmers from the drought-stricken towns of Kouga, Hankey, Patensie, Jeffreys Bay, Oyster Bay and Humansdorp.
“The farmers initially wanted the department to reduce water restrictions to 60% for irrigation purposes, but later accepted [the] 80% that was proposed by the department,” says DWS regional head Portia Makhanya.
The DWS has embarked on short-term interventions, including the provision of two 18 000 litre water tankers for emergency water in the Kouga local municipality.
Some R1-million had been allocated to Kouga municipality from the first round drought-funding allocations, which was used for ground water exploration in Hankey and Patensie.
The municipality also laid an 800 m pipeline from a farmer’s borehole to provide them with water should Kouga run completely dry.
An Algoa water supply system restrictions monitoring committee monitors the drought, while a functional Algoa water supply system reconciliation study committee meets quarterly to assess the situation and make recommendations.
The water resources planning systems directorate monitors the situation, in addition to the groundwater exploration, on a monthly basis and provides expert advice.
High-level bulk water master plans have been compiled, as well as the all-town studies report, to assist the municipality with medium and long-term solutions.