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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Health risk as dry spell hits Mopani

By Alex Matlala | Jan 06, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

DROUGHT continues to threaten the Mopani region of Limpopo, with nearly 1,4million people competing for river water with wild animals.

Residents fear that the water is contaminated and could be dangerous for their health.

The situation has worsened since March last year when two dams supplying water to residents of Giyani and Modjadjiskloof dried up.

The two dams, Nsami and Middle Letaba, which were once full to capacity after the 2000 floods, are now standing empty.

Local rivers which also became the source of water and grazing area are also now dry.

Residents in far-flung villages such as Magevha and Bambanana have to dig huge holes in the sand in the river to get water.

"We usually buy water from the people who have boreholes in their yards at high prices," said Rosa Mboweni of Bambanana village yesterday.

"For a 20-litre container, we pay R2 and for a 25-litre we pay R2, 50."

Mboweni said some of the people who did not have money depended on river water, which is also used by animals at night.

Another resident, Sister Shikwambane, of Giyani Unit B, said she and her children had to go to the nearby valley to respond to the call of nature during the festive season because there was no water to flush in the toilets.

Since the drought started, the district has set aside R10million for drilling and re-drilling boreholes and building small reservoirs in which water would be kept before being supplied to villages.

Mopani district mayor Joshua Matlou said the area was declared a disaster area in September last year when the problem got out of hand.

Matlou said the district had applied for financial assistance from the provincial government and the national Treasury in an effort to address the problem.

"Our plan is to draw water from the normally full to capacity Nandoni Dam near Thohoyandou, which is about 65km away from Giyani to supply adequate water to the residents of Giyani and surrounding areas," he said.

"We need about R300million from the government in order to implement this project."


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