Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has on Tuesday sent teams to the drought-stricken town of Graaff-Reinet in the municipality of Dr Beyers Naude, Eastern Cape, where the main water supplying dam has run dry.
The municipality said it welcomed assistance from the organisation.
Municipality spokesperson Edwardine Abader said “the drought has affected all areas in our municipality. The Nqweba dam, which supplies water to all areas of the town and surrounds, is currently at 0% and the community is serviced via 28 boreholes”.
The municipality is required to service 3,392 households and a population of 37,670 permanent residents.
“By all accounts, the town is on its knees, ‘water speaking’, and drastic intervention is urgently required,” said Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
As a result of the dire water situation in the town, the organisation will be sending three superlinks laden with water, three water tankers, a drilling machine, and its renowned hydrologist, Dr Gideon Groenewald.
According to Sooliman: “Too little water reaches the main storage tanks in the lower lying areas to automatically let the booster pumps kick in to pump water to the higher reservoirs, resulting in water always being available in the lower part of the town but leaving people on higher ground completely dry.”
“Most people living on higher ground are the previously disadvantaged.
“The solution lies in developing existing or new boreholes; managing known aquifers; supplying water at a rate that exceeds water use in low lying areas; allowing pumping systems to run effectively and fill high lying reservoirs as a matter of urgency, and drill boreholes directly in high lying areas if the geography allows that.
“Dr Groenewald will deal with these issues,” said Sooliman.
“We are going through difficult times as a country and we invite all stakeholders to work and partner with us to find lasting solutions to the current water challenges,” said Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who has directed her department to work with relevant stakeholders to provide immediate relief while the department seeks long-term solutions to the current water shortages.
At the same time, the municipality revealed it is waiting for the approval funding from National Treasury, which will be used for water conservation and demand management as well as groundwater exploration.