Call to save water as dams, rivers start to dry

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Residents in Limpopo have been warned to use water sparingly as dams and rivers dry up alarmingly.

The average water volumes in all of Limpopo's dams stand at only 52percent overall, the provincial Department of Water Affairs said yesterday.

Departmental head Alson Matukane said the worst hit was the Middle Letaba Dam, which serves more than twomillion people in the Giyani and Malamulele areas.

The dam stands at 45percent full. In the same period last year its stood at 75percent.

Matukane saidthe Ebenezer Dam, which provides water to areas in Magoebaskloof and Polokwane, was at 60percent and the level of the Albasini Dam in the Vhembe area stood at only 45percent.

Residents in the Sekhukhune area said they have to use river water, which they share with animals.

The residents said water from some rivers was contaminated and posed a serious health risk to the communities.

Matukane said most of the rivers in Limpopo were dry, making people's lives "a living hell".

In Bolobedu residents have to buy water at inflated prices from households with boreholes.

Maite Moilakgomo of Mawa Block 12 said a 20litre container costs R1.

The poor, who cannot afford this are forced to walk more than five kilometres to a communal tap to draw water.

"This is dangerous for us women because we are robbed of our valuables while others get raped en route to the tap at night," she said.

A school principal in the Modjadjiskloof area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said teachers and pupils had to carry water in bottles to school to avoid having to go to a fountain in the village during school.

He said they had asked the Greater Letaba municipality for help, but to no avail.

As a result of the shortage, the provincial department has urged people to conserve water and to use it sparingly.