Households tap into boreholes
More South African households are turning to ground water from their gardens for their main water supply.
However, the number of boreholes is not on the increase as existing ones are drying up at the same rate as new installations.
"Yes, more boreholes are on stream because people are looking for new ways to get water, but due to the drought, existing boreholes are drying up, so we are actually at an equilibrium," Department of Water and Sanitation spokesman Sputnik Ratau said yesterday.
Blue River Drilling, which specialises in drilling boreholes in Johannesburg, has seen an increase in demand for boreholes in the past few months.
"The water crisis came to a head in October-November last year. Prior to that we were doing approximately 50 to 70 quotations a month. In November the inquiries exceeded 350.
"People are more concerned about having potable water for household use, and 90% of our clients are connecting up to their house mains. All our clients have experienced water interruptions, with some of them being up to several days long," said Blue River Drilling's Betty Barry.
Gauteng's JAM Water Services has seen a 20% increase in the number of clients in the past three months.
"We anticipate a large increase in the demand for boreholes in 2016," the company's Lerina Liebenberg said.
"Obviously more boreholes would go on stream in drought-affected areas, but boreholes are also drying up in these areas," Ratau said.
On Monday, disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers said Senekal farmers, who were providing water from their boreholes at 15c a litre, had to reduce their daily output due to fears that the supply would dry up.
"A hydrological study is being conducted to assess if ground water is available in other areas so as to drill new boreholes," said the organisation's chairman, Imtiaz Sooliman.
KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Free State and North West have been declared disaster zones as a result of the drought.