National Disaster Centre Declined to Help Thirsty Beaufort West – Province
The National Disaster Management Centre declined a request to provide droughtstricken Beaufort West with emergency funding due to the initial stated terms, the Western Cape Local Government Department said recently.
However, the province was re-negotiating the terms, said James-Brent Styan, spokesperson for Western Cape local government MEC Anton Bredell.
Beaufort West’s 37 000 residents have been getting their water supply from 32 boreholes and a water reclamation plant since the Gamka Dam dried up earlier this year. However, after engaging with various stakeholders, the provincial Local Government Department sourced R23m, department spokesperson Rowena Kellies said in a statement.
The money is expected to be used to fund another five boreholes. Add to that an additional two boreholes, which two donors have offered to equip and drill, Kellies said. Currently, 16% of the town’s water needs are being supplied by a reclamation plant and 84% by boreholes.
Graham Paulse, head of the Department of Local Government, said the situation in the municipality was being monitored daily.
“The department would like to encourage the public to remain calm during this period. Through collective watersaving initiatives, as well as close inter-sectorial collaboration, the potential of severe water disruptions [can] be avoided,” Paulse said.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs departmental spokesperson Legadima Leso did not respond to a request for comment. The National Disaster Management Centre is part of the department’s portfolio.
Styan previously said that, aside from Beaufort West, the areas worst affected by the Western Cape drought included the City of Cape Town, Kannaland, Knysna and Bitou.
The province was declared a provincial disaster area in May.
“The provincial disaster management centre has been activated and continues to monitor the situation across the province,” Styan said.