Emergency drought money pumped into Cape towns
Drought: Municipalities at high risk get emergency R200-million
Emergency work is under way in four Western Cape municipalities at high risk of running out of water.
Colin Deiner, the provincial disaster management chief, said R200-million was being spent in Beaufort West, Kannaland (Ladismith), Knysna and Bitou.
Further measures were being implemented in "medium-risk" municipalities, which were concentrated in the West Coast and Cape Winelands districts, as well as Hessequa, Oudtshoorn and George in the southern Cape.
"We are working with these municipalities to drill boreholes, equip pump stations and lay pipelines where required. Schools and hospitals in priority areas have been identified for borehole drilling," Deiner said on Thursday.
- In Beaufort West eight boreholes were being equipped and connected and a new pipeline was being laid to Kleinhansriver pump station;
- In Knysna the Charlsford and Eastford supply schemes were being upgraded and the desalination plant was being refurbished;
- In Bitou 12 boreholes were being drilled and equipped; and
- In Kannaland a temporary pipeline was being installed to move a water abstraction point;channels and pipes were being repaired.
"These municipalities have an estimated supply of about three months of water. Beaufort West and Kannaland are in very dry parts of the province generally," said Deiner.
"In the case of Knysna the system has historically allowed for only 90 days of reserves, but risk levels have heightened and supply interventions are under way."
Average provincial dam levels are 32.4%.
Premier Helen Zille said geohydrologists had been appointed in all districts to manage groundwater operations.
"Provincial engineers are partnering municipalities to track their water usage. Our disaster management services are working flat out on priority projects worth R295-million.
"This is a whole-of-society effort by team Western Cape, including residents who are doing their bit to save water in their own homes and businesses. We can avoid Day Zero, but only if we work together," she said.
Provincial agriculture department head Joyene Isaacs said its aid to farmers totalled R68-million so far. "We've spent R11-million each month on animal feed to support about 1300 farmers, most of them smallholders."
Department economists had previously found that a 10% reduction in yields, as a result of the drought, could cost the economy R3.2-billion and place 17,000 jobs under threat.