Cape Town – The memory of a looming Day Zero and harsh water restrictions still fresh in their minds, relief organisations based in Cape Town were quick to react to reports that the town of Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown, was fast running out of water.
Relief organisation Gift of the Givers said dam levels were dangerously low due to a number of factors, and due to high silt levels only about 3% of the university town’s water reserves are available for extraction from its dams.
About 80000 people are currently without water in the Eastern Cape town.
“Citizens of Grahamstown have been contacting Gift of the Givers over the weekend to assist,” the organisation said.
“The municipal manager and other members of the council have confirmed the crisis, saying: ‘The mayor, council members and management team will wait at the gates of the town for your trucks. We will graciously accept whatever assistance you can offer. Our situation is desperate. We’ve had no water for six days already. We need your help’.”
Gift of the Givers trucks have been loaded up in Cape Town and Joburg and are heading to Makhanda with hundreds of tons of bottled water.
“Dr Gideon Groenewald, a Gift of the Givers specialist hydrologist, geologist and palaeontologist, will engage the municipality to see what sustainable alternatives could be found in the immediate to medium term as work continues to double the capacity of the James Kleynhans water treatment works to 20 megalitres by 2020,” the organisation said.
“Currently it provides 10 megalitres a day once functional. It may soon be the only source of supply to Makhanda once all the other water systems shut down. There will be a daily deficit of 8 megalitres. Water will be rationed to 20 litres a day, supplied two days on and two days off. This in essence is Day Zero.”
Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela has made a clear public statement that in the absence of reasonable water sources, “Rhodes University will have to close its doors”.
“Dr Groenewald has been responsible for successfully sighting water for Gift of the Givers, enabling us to drill 200 boreholes in an eight- monthperiod providing 50 million litres of water daily,” Gift of the Givers said.
They have appealed to the public for donations to assist them with their work. Contributions can be made via the Gift of the Givers account:
Standard Bank, Account Number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, Reference: Drought.