Update on drought interventions in Eastern Cape
The National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) together with Amatola Water and municipalities have been hard at work bringing water to communities that are affected by drought in the Eastern Cape since the province was declared a drought-stricken area, as well as in response to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
As indicated while the Department was dealing with the devastating drought, the Eastern Cape was also hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic. There was therefore a need to double efforts to ensure every household had water to intensify good health and hygiene practices through the washing of hands with water and soap as guided by the World Health Organization.
In response, the Department through Amatola Water delivered 5694 water tanks and 171 water trucks to service communities around the Eastern Cape as part of drought and COVID-19 pandemic intervention. A total of 756 water tanks were also delivered and installed in priority schools around the province. 274 boreholes have been drilled to augment water supply in the province.
As part of increasing drought intervention in Nelson Mandela Bay, Rand Water estimated that it would cost government R6 million to procure 100 x 5000 litre tanks and 20 water trucks for emergency intervention to assist with the current water challenges in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Water trucks will be made available for 2 months.
The Department will ensure funding is available for the completion of the Nooitgedagt water scheme because Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality also depends heavily on it for its supply. The permanent repairs to the Sunday’s River Valley Canal are to be expedited to ensure its completion prior to the commissioning of the soon to be completed Nooitgedagt Water Scheme.
In Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality the Department will provide 20 additional water tanks and 3 water trucks on top of the 5 that are operating already to improve water service delivery in that municipality. Amatola Water is in the process of appointing a Service Provider to avail 3 tankers. In this Municipality also water trucks will be made available for 2 months.
The Ministry will formalise government’s relationship with the Gift of Givers based on the National Treasury agreement to utilize them.
In Amathole District Municipality, Amatola Water has deployed 5 tankers as at 20 September 2020 out of the additional 20 water trucks required for Butterworth. Amathole Municipality has submitted a revised business plan to the Department for procuring additional water tanks and tankers on the 20% allowed from their grant funding.
Regarding the Ngqamakhwe water pipeline that will supply water to Butterworth and surrounding areas, additional funding is to be committed as required for the project to be completed within the next 2-3 years. This financial year, there’s R50m available versus the R720m required for the entire project. The project team is ready to establish the site office in October 2020. The Project Steering Committee is also functional and the construction permit has been granted by the Department of Labour.
On the raising of Gcuwa Weir to enhance water security, additional funding is to be committed as required to implement the Gcuwa Weir project to completion by the end of 2021. The tender briefing took place on the 15th of September 2020 for Geo-Technical services.
2 boreholes will be drilled and elevated tanks installed in Ngquthu Village to improve water supply. Drillers have been appointed from a panel of Amatola Water specialists to be deployed in October.
Amatola Water is in the process of appointing a service provider to deliver 3 water trucks in Ndlambe Municipality as they require additional tankers to increase water supply.
The department is also looking at procuring and deploying state-owned water trucks as a medium to long term solution versus hiring because of costs and therefore not sustainable. Amatola Water has procured 20 and currently waiting for delivery of 8 at the end of September 2020.
There are challenges with illegal connections, water leaks, vandalism and theft of water infrastructure. These all contribute to unnecessary water losses. Everyone is urged to save water and report criminal acts on the toll-free number 0800 200 200 because every drop counts.
As the Eastern Cape gets most of its rainfall in summer. The expected and hoped for good rains during the coming season will hopefully assist a great deal with the necessary recharge of water sources and mitigate the negative effects of drought.
Source: Government of South Africa