South Africa: Makhanda Water Crisis - Fresh Hope As Gift of the Givers Strikes Water

(file photo)
20 February 2019

Makana municipality in the Eastern Cape has declared all its water, except in Riebeek East, free from E. coli as the Gift of the Givers rejoices over the quick discovery of underground water in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) that could help the troubled region pull through its water crisis soon.

"The February results, according to the National Health Laboratory Service report, indicates failure in Riebeek East only in terms of E. coli, with all other testing areas/sampling points complying, meaning it is safe for human consumption," stated municipal communications officer Yoliswa Ramokolo.

People living in Riebeek East must still boil their water before drinking it as work continues to rectify their situation.

Ramokolo said the statement was in response to a social media message about the toxicity of water in the region.

More sampling will be done and health statistics will also be collated to monitor the prevalence of water-borne diseases during the past months.

The municipality has been battling to repair neglected water supply equipment, problems with pumps and a drought, which led to a scarcity of fresh water in the region that is home to Rhodes University.

Drilling yields positive results

To tide residents over, the Gift of the Givers has been delivering lorry loads of fresh drinking water.

The charity has also brought in hydrologist Dr Gideon Groenewald, and was overjoyed to announce on Tuesday that on his first attempt he found pure drinking water at 145m in Makhanda.

The charity believes this could produce 20 000 litres per day "as a very conservative estimate".

"Tomorrow the drilling rig will be positioned at other sites with a similar rock formation where it is expected that higher yields of water will be found at a lesser depth," said Gift of the Givers' head Imtiaz Sooliman.

"The aim is to drill at as many sites as possible to provide a sustainable alternative to bottled water which is an emergency stop gap measure," he explained.

They also brought in animal fodder from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal, which will be distributed to emerging farmers for their cattle.


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