Cape disaster chief warns of disease danger from drought advice

20 June 2017 - 18:21 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Theewaterskloof Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. File photo.
Theewaterskloof Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. File photo.
Image: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

A blanket call for Western Cape residents to refrain from flushing their toilets in a bid to save water might lead to disease outbreaks.

Disaster chief Colin Deiner‚ who leads the team aiming to ensure the province avoids “Day Zero” — when the taps run dry — warned provincial legislature members on Tuesday that the call might be dangerous‚ especially for working class families.

“We must think very carefully about the awareness (messages) that we come up with. It’s all right if it’s in a middle-class type of house but it might not be that good in other areas‚” he told the local government committee.

Speaking to TimesLIVE after the meeting‚ Deiner said people should use discretion when heeding calls to “let the yellow mellow”.

“It depends on what kind of a system you have. If it’s normal municipal system‚ then there is probably not much of a problem‚ but you also need to know how many people live in a house‚ for example. Those kind of things need to be taken into account.”

Deiner said the drought problem also posed further worries of disease if the province does not receive adequate winter rainfall. “You get certain diseases that are borne through plants or through animals‚ and what you get is a kind of a natural situation where rain washes a lot of that stuff away‚” he said.

If that did not happen‚ there was the possibility of disease breaking out in animals.

“The veterinary people and the farmers obviously need to be very vigilant as far as that’s concerned‚” he said.

- TimesLIVE