The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu, says government plans to use state of the art technology water distribution plants to address challenges of drought and shortage of water in the Eastern Cape. The province has been hit by drought, especially farmers, which forced Gift of the Givers to drill borewater holes in various affected areas in the province.

Sisulu was speaking during the launch of the upgrade of the Albany Coast Reverse Osmosis Plant at Bushmansriver near Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.

Amatola Water needs R6 billion to address challenges of drought and water shortage in the Eastern Cape.

Bushmansriver is a popular holiday destination situated in the Ndlambe Region. Minister Sisulu has given holiday makers a green light by upgrading a local water plant to increase capacity to 60%.

The Ndlambe Region is the only region in South Africa that uses a desalination plant which draws water from the ocean.

Sisulu says South Africa is a water scarce country and the introduction of technology will bring lasting solutions. She says government plans to use the plant as a test and is confident it will provide water for all visitors in the area.

This Albany Reverse Osmosis Plant was built in 1982 and upgraded in 2010 after being transferred to Amatola Water. The plant serves a population of over 11 000 people at this holiday destination. Amatola Water has allocated R18 million for it to be upgraded.

Amatola Water CEO, Vuyo Zitumane, says the company needs R6 billion for drought relief.

“We are making a difference to our people, really change of gear. It’s good to see government and relevant stakeholders working together. This water distribution for will be a draw card for the province and people of Ndlambe.”

Ratepayer Redmond Taggart says they are happy for the distribution plant.

“This is what we had been working for, we had dozens of meetings and we are glad for the distribution plant. There will be water for holiday makers in this region. It’s good to see government and Amatola assisting, this is sustainable and we are glad as ratepayers.”

Minister Sisulu says she will deploy senior officials to rural towns that have been affected by drought due to lack of rain, to seek for lasting solutions and introduce technology to those affected areas. Water demands are expected to increase during this festive season and South African citizens have been urged to use water sparingly.