A water crisis is looming in Beaufort West in Central Karoo. The municipality says it urgently needs R45 million to drill more boreholes to stop taps from running dry.
The town’s main water source, the Gamka Dam, has dried up.
Beaufort West is a major stop-over on the N1 national route between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
It is also the gateway to holiday resorts in the Western, Eastern and Southern Cape, but water supply in this Central Karoo town is dwindling fast, leaving residents, like Daniel Ngondo and Anne Morries worried.
Daniel Ngondo says of the potential crisis: “If there is no water everything will be chaos.”
Another resident Anne Morries says:
“It will be a major headache if there is no water. Then we’ll have to hope that they will send us water, just as they’ve been sending drought relief.”
Water supplies now only come from 29 boreholes and a waste water recycling plant, but Engineering Services director, Norwood Kotze, says this is not enough.
“We’d like to equip more boreholes. After the 2010 drought there was a study done in 2012, which identified boreholes to the South of Beaufort West. The study showed there is good water yield there. It won’t replace Gamka dam, but it could help us through this difficult period.”
Kotze says water rationing could start soon if the money for additional boreholes is not secured:
“If we won’t be able to do it we’ll go into the same situation as 2010 where we’ll have to look art water shedding. Divide the town into 12 sectors and provide water to two sectors at a time for a certain time period.”
Western Cape Department of Local Government spokesperson, James Styan, says they are working closely with the municipality to avert a water crisis.
He says to secure funding, it should be a joint venture between local, provincial and national government.
Styan has also urged visitors to the town to use water sparingly:
“We’ve been providing all sorts of support on the ground, but it’s a terrible situation. I was there myself this week. Some more funding is probably required to drill additional borehole and we’re also doing a call on the public, when travelling through Beaufort West, especially in the coming holiday period to please use as little water as possible when passing through the town.”
This past week, drought affected farmers received much-needed feed for their livestock from a good Samaritan in Mpumalanga.
A convoy of 31 trucks delivered 1 500 bales to the delight of the town’s residents.