Here’s What One Of South Africa’s Driest Towns Had To Endure


Collecting water for bathing and cooking by the bucket and watching your garden whither – this is what residents in one of SA’s driest towns have had to endure.

The Department of Water and Sanitation this week released data on declining dam levels across the country‚ saying water levels in 12 dams are below 10%.

The province that has been hit the hardest in the water crisis is the North West‚ with food production severely affected.

North West town Swartruggens has been without running water since November. According to local Riyaaz Karolia its dam is completely dry.

“It’s hard. Life without water is very hard. It’s difficult to cook. People have to buy five litres of water [from supermarkets] just to cook‚” he told TMG Digital on Wednesday.

Karolia‚ who works in a family-run supermarket‚ and others in his neighbourhood have been kept afloat with borehole water. For those without‚ bathing and using the toilet means collecting water in buckets‚ he said.

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The local municipality fills plastic water tanks situated in the town’s surrounds but there isn’t enough for everyone. Swartruggens businesswoman Hannelie Husemeyer doesn’t have access to a borehole from her 20-unit guesthouse premises.

To make sure her guests have running water in their rooms she brings water to work from home‚ where she has a borehole which fills a tank with a capacity of 30‚000 litres. Getting this system up and running was costly and not something Husemeyer had budgeted for‚ she says chuckling.

Husemeyer then uses a pressure pump to ensure the water reaches all the rooms at the two-storey guest house.

On Wednesday she will make two trips to collect 10‚000 litres of water for the guests in her nine occupied rooms.

Husemeyer said people in Swartruggens are forced to let their plants die in the drought as watering your garden is a luxury.

Marelize Appelcryn of Karee Krans Nature Farm‚ 20km outside of Swartruggens‚ said taps in the nearby town of Koster have also dried up completely.

The North West’s Rietspruit dam has seen its water levels drop recently too‚ the department said.

But local Karin Yssel‚ who runs a resort on the dam’s banks‚ says that her business is not majorly affected by the drought.

It is the farmers in the region she feels sorry for. “There are restrictions for the farms. They can’t irrigate‚” she said.

Yssel said that in January the resort had fewer guests than usual due to the low dam levels. According to Yssel the current drought is the worst her 62-year-old husband has seen in his entire life.

The North West has implemented restrictions in Koster‚ Sehujwane‚ Marico Bosveld‚ Kromellenboog‚ Swartruggens‚ Pella‚ Molatedi‚ Madikwe and Wentzel.

Here is a breakdown of declining dam levels some of SA’s metros have seen in a week: – Port Elizabeth’s Algoa system‚ with five dams‚ reported a 0.8% drop. – East London’s Amathola system‚ with six dams‚ saw a decrease of 0.6%. – The Umgeni Dam system‚ serving Durban and Pietermaritzburg‚ saw a decrease of 1.5%. Other dangerously low KwaZulu-Natal dams are Klipfontein at 17.4% full‚ Goedertrouw at 20% full and Hluhluwe at 13.4% full. – The Vaal River system serving Gauteng dropped by 0.6%.

Water restrictions were announced in Cape Town on Wednesday.


Source: Times Live

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