Only 3 months' water supply remaining - KZN municipality

Kaveel Singh, News24

Durban – Worsening drought conditions and logistical challenges surrounding water tankers, has left one of the country's worst hit areas in KwaZulu-Natal with just three months' water supply.

In a statement, iLembe District Mayor Welcome Mdabe said he would be meeting with Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Wednesday "to present the district’s business plan for the drought".

Mdabe declared that iLembe "has enough water for about 120 days".

"The problem is we do not have enough water tankers. The little we do have, [the] majority are hired.

"To date iLembe has spent more than R15m on hiring water tankers. This is costing us R6 000 a day for one water tanker. We are looking at a budget of no less than R300m to buy our own," he said.

The municipality is currently faced with the mammoth task of transporting water to three local municipalities.

"We are getting water from Mandeni [municipality], but there are indications as well that uThukela River is also steadily running dry," he said.

For the past two weeks, Mdabe has led a team of municipal officials heeding calls from residents to view streams and other possible water sources in various areas in the district.

"We are in the process of drilling boreholes where there is groundwater and doing tests to see if the water is fit for human consumption. Should it not be potable, then we will look into purchasing treatment plants to avoid our people getting diseases and the like," he said.

As of Friday October 30, the Hazelmere Dam was producing 45 million litres of water, with its levels sitting below 28%. Hazelmere Dam supplies parts of iLembe District, including holiday towns such as Ballito, Zimbali, Salt Rock, Sheffield Beach and eThekwini Metro.

KwaZulu-Natal and Free State have been declared disaster areas in terms of the drought while the rest of the country has been put on alert with little chance of rain.