Holidaymakers begged to bring water to drought-stricken towns

It has arrived – that moment where municipalities have failed to provide water to constituents for a period sufficient for them to look at alternatives, and the only alternative for some communities is relying on the kindness and awareness of complete strangers. Begging holidaymakers to provide water is not what most people expected their festive season to develop into. These posts from various sources:

Extract by Wim Pretorius for News24 on 28-Dec

Johannesburg – A Middelburg woman has started an initiative Bottled Water, Water Shortage, Droughtto get holiday travelers to take water to areas that have not seen much rain in recent times. Caroline van Saasen, a 46-year-old who works as a secretary at the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce, says she started the initiative on Sunday evening. “I just thought that if nobody starts, how will the problem ever get solved?” Van Saasen told News24. She created a Facebook group called Waternood Suid Afrika/Water shortage South Africa and within seven hours, word had spread and the group had grown to over 400 members from across the country.

Press release from the Department of Water and Sanitation on 30-Dec

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane is ensuring relief to many families who experienced water shortages during the days around Christmas Day. Water supply disruptions in a number of areas within the Eastern Cape Province have negatively impacted on the Christmas celebrations in many households, notably in areas such as Mdantsane in Buffalo City, Tsolo in Mhlontlo Municipality, Norwood in Mthatha and villages such as Colosa, Timane, and eCamagwini in Idutywa. “The release of water from the Katse Dam in Lesotho to augment water supply to the Maletswai Local Municipality that supplies Aliwal North and surrounding areas is underway. The water must travel a distance of a little more than 500kms downstream and is expected to reach various destinations in the province in the next few days. “We are here today to deliver water tankers to augment the supply of water to communities currently experiencing water challenges. We have brought 10 water tankers, 8 x 18 000l tankers and 2 x 10 000l tankers. These will be distributed for the benefit of the communities of Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Chris Hani and OR Tambo Districts”, announced Mokonyane yesterday. Minister Mokonyane also committed to assist with the refurbishment of 5 boreholes per district in the province. “With this intervention we will ensure that we deploy highly competent engineers to oversee the process and to assess boreholes to be rehabilitated as well as verify their viability and water potential”, noted the Minister.

As the water crisis in the county worsens, Aliwal North residents are pleading with holidaymakers to bring them liquid relief. Deon Smit, who was co-ordinating the water relief effort, said on Thursday that they had been without water for more than six days. The Orange River stopped flowing two weeks ago. “We are asking holidaymakers who are driving through Aliwal North to donate some water because all the shops are out of water too. Even if it’s just a bottle of water, we would appreciate it,” he said.

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