The drought affecting large parts of the Eastern Cape is worsening.  The coastal town of Port Alfred and the surrounding towns in the Ndlambe Municipality have almost run out of water.

The areas supply dam is only 6% full and water rationing is in place.  The municipality is calling on residents to use water sparingly to avoid a day zero scenario.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs gave R20 million to the municipality to help with emergency relief.

Ndlambe Municipality Manager Roly Dumezweni says that they need R98 million to put up a desalination plant.

“If we can have this plant, it is long term, whether there is drought or not, the ocean will always be there where we can desalinate water and provide it to the people. It might be a problem for inland, which are depending on boreholes. At the coast, we don’t need that. Desalination plants, if they can be established right across, we will not have this problem.”

Residents in Port Alfred are left without water for long periods and some are totally reliant on water tanks for their supply. The town’s economy is also severely affected by the drought as tourists leave because of the water shortages. The Chairperson of Business Port Alfred, Rick Price, says the hospitality industry is facing a disaster.

“This morning (Friday) nine guest houses on the east bank have had no water for five days and all their guests have left. And then there are other areas of the town that have had no water for five days. People are leaving Port Alfred which means tourism and business suffers. It really is a serious situation.”