Residents of Kouga municipality have begun to feel the pinch of the drought as they now experience water cuts almost the whole day.

This as Day Zero is fast approaching for this municipality, which draws its water from the Kouga supply dam.

Kouga Dam levels are currently at 4.25%.  Small towns such as Hankey and Patensie face severe water shortages, and the water shedding that is now in place is causing panic.

Residents in townships of Hankey in the Eastern Cape say they are bearing the brunt of this drought.

Most of the residents are unemployed, meaning they have to sit through the dry period of the day as the municipality enforces water restrictions.

Many go without a drop of water for more than nine hours a day. They claim that when they get water for a couple of hours during the night, it is of poor quality and they fear using it.

Video: Day Zero is fast approaching for the Kouga Municipality

Residents say they are getting frustrated.

“I am mother to a little girl. She has suffered severe rash these past couple of weeks, and it is frustrating. I take her to the doctors and everyone says it is the water we are using. Now, where will we get money to buy water?” says one resident.

“I am very concerned because we don’t get water, especially in the townships. We don’t even get water trucks. How are we going to cook? How are we going to wash clothes or dishes? We are at home most of the day. Even now, there is no water,” adds another concerned resident.

So far, there has been no significant amount of rain to relieve the municipality of drought.

The Gamtoos Irrigation Board says although the past week brought welcome rain, the situation remains critical.

CEO Rienette Colesky says these restrictions are a necessary part of water managing strategies.

“We’ve managed the water supply as best as possible to this point. One of the tools that we do is restrictions and the system has been restrictive for the past four years, in terms of domestic and agricultural use. So, the source has been managed well.”

The municipality says it’s working around the clock in finding various water supply alternatives.

Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, says though they are distributing of tankers, they have serious budget constraints.

“I must admit that we do try by all means to provide water to the people, and we have devised means to save the amount of water we have, despite certain challenges. But the issue of the budget is also a problem. We have very limited budget and are, therefore, constrained. We have also noticed that the water in tanks is compromised, but we will work round the clock to find alternatives.”

The municipality remains hopeful for more welcome rain in the coming weeks as Day Zero is predicted on the 1st of June. Residents are urged to continue using water sparingly.