The search for an alternative water source for the drought stricken town of Makhanda is already successful. The aim is to sink 20 boreholes.
The first of these is already providing good quality water at a rate of 20 000 litres per day.
The municipality is also continuing with its maintenance work on the James Kleynhans treatment plant to ensure it can provide 10 mega litres of water per day.
It has been day zero already for some residents. Mary Bentjies has had no running water now for three weeks and when there was water, it was undrinkable out of the tap. They had to fill containers and wait for the sediment to settle before they could use it. People are also boiling water to make it safe to drink, but even that seems not to work as scores of people are complaining of stomach and skin ailments.
The arrival of the clean drinking water was heaven sent.
Bentjies says that she ran to get water when the truck carrying water arrived.
“When the truck arrived, I literally ran for my life to go and get water. I was so relieved. I’m so worried though that when this two bottles are done, what are we going to do?”
The water crisis in Makhanda started a few months ago when the Settlers Dam, which supplies the western side of town, hit an all-time low of 13%. The initial R30 million of the R150 million government grant is now being put into the treatment plant to increase its output to 10 megalitres per day.
The taps ran dry for many regardless of the interventions.
The Gift of the Givers stepped in and brought 30 000 bottles of water.
Gift of the Givers Imtiaz Sooliman says that they have been getting calls from different people in the Eastern Cape asking for assistance.
“We have been getting calls from people in Graafreneit, Amathole and other parts in the Eastern Cape. What I have seen is painful; this is now a national disaster and I’ve made a call to the president’s office to set up a meeting so that I can tell how bad things are this side and the need for them to intervene.”
Makhanda Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa says that they have saved some water for emergency purposes.
“We have taken some of the water that we have produced and saved it for emergency purposes so that, once things get really bad, we can distribute the water.”
The rest of the R150 million government grant will be used to increase the capacity of the James Kleynhans dam and for a diversion project to divert its water to also supply the western side of Makhanda.
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