Residents of Butterworth in the Eastern Cape are desperately waiting for water that was released from the Wriggleswade Dam to provide them with some respite from a lengthy drought that is showing no signs of ending.
The water was released from the dam earlier this month and it was estimated that it would take about two weeks to reach Kei Bridge.
While the drought is affecting several areas in the province, Butterworth stands to benefit the most from the release of the water.
It will be treated and taken to communities by tanker, while the province waits for further assistance from the national government.
Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu and Premier Oscar Mabuyane held an urgent meeting on Monday to discuss the situation.
Department of water and sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said boreholes had been sunk but even the groundwater was becoming scarce.
Ratau said no illnesses were reported but that the department of health was ready as part of the team assembled to support residents.
Towns falling under the Chris Hani District Municipality and eight others under the jurisdiction of Joe Gqabi are particularly hard-hit.
Most rivers and springs have dried up and there are rigorous restrictions in place from Cala to Whittlesea.