Makhanda has only enough water for about two months‚ deputy minister told

Strict water restrictions imposed on Makhanda west residents as day zero looms.
Strict water restrictions imposed on Makhanda west residents as day zero looms.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

Makhanda west‚ which is home to Rhodes University‚ several prestigious schools‚ the city’s prison‚ industrial area‚ army base‚ suburbia and CBD will run out of water in about two months‚ Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete was told on Tuesday.

And a member of Tshwete’s own staff‚ DWS water regulation director in the Eastern Cape‚ Andrew Lucas‚ warned Makhanda (Grahamstown) residents to continue hard-boiling their drinking water as the city still faced water quality challenges.

Tshwete is meeting Makhanda stakeholders and community members in an effort to understand the water crisis the city faces. Stakeholders did not hold back and it became clear that there were both quantity and quality issues that were a source of major concern.

Makhanda municipal infrastructure and technical services director Dali Mlenzana said the city faced a major disaster with its main supply dam to the west of the city down to less than 30%. Day Zero would happen in about 60 days he warned.

Strict water restrictions allow each resident just 60 litres a day for all their needs. Residents complained that while they tried to heed these restrictions they felt frustrated when they saw treated water pouring down the streets in the city from uncontained pipe bursts.

Tshwete said her department would do what it could to assist but warned that DWS was responsible for the dams while local government was responsible for water reticulation and the supply of water from the dams to residents’ taps.

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