21 January 2019

South Africa: Karoo Town Asked to Reduce Water Use to 50 Litres a Day Amid Drought

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(file photo).

Residents of the Karoo town of Zoar have been urged to drop water consumption to 50 litres a day as the region struggles with "unacceptably high" consumption during a drought, the Western Cape government has said.

"The Zoar region currently uses 170 litres of water per person per day," MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell, said on Monday.

"The community has been urged to reduce consumption to 50 litres per person per day."

This mirrors the measures taken by the City of Cape Town during last year's drought.

Bredell said the community had "challenges" with water this past weekend as demand exceeded supply, which led to reservoirs running dry. It took a while to replenish the tanks.

"It remains critical that the small towns in the Karoo's water supply get managed carefully, conscientiously and on a daily basis to ensure reservoirs do not run dry. We remain in consultation with the Kannaland council in this regard,' he said.

As an interim measure, the district municipality has placed seven water tankers in Zoar where the community can collect water until the reservoirs have been replenished from groundwater projects.

Bredell said the drought in the Karoo was serious, but there were several ongoing projects to ensure communities continued to have access to drinking water.

In the last 10 days, provincial government and officials from neighbouring municipalities, including Oudtshoorn, have stepped in at the Kannaland municipality to help with the rehabilitation of the Calitzdorp water treatment plant, which was not being adequately maintained.

Earlier this month, the municipality wrote a letter to disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers, titled: "Request for assistance".

"Kannaland Municipality is currently facing tremendous challenges regarding the provision of drinking water due to the drought and extreme dry weather conditions.

"The communities of Calitzdorp and Zoar are at this stage majorly affected by this situation due to the drop in dam levels.

The municipality asked Gift of the Givers to help supply drinking water to 3 000 households - which it estimated to be around 14 205 people.

The organisation described the area as being in a "severe crisis".

Kannaland is a swathe of agricultural land that stretches close to Oudtshoorn and Laingsburg. Its major towns are Ladismith, famous for its cheese and butter, Zoar and Calitzdorp, which have agriculture as their main source of income.

Source: News24

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