The South African government’s Water and Sanitation Department says the release of water from the Katse Dam in Lesotho (pictured above) into the Orange River will bolster the water supply into South Africa and should relieve the impact of the current drought.
Parts of the Eastern Cape’s Joe Gqabi District, including Aliwal North, are in dire straits as a result of the water shortage with district water services manager, Dumisani Luswana, saying all water sources, including the Orange river, are continuing to dry up. At the moment they are re-drilling boreholes in an attempt to find more water.
Meanwhile Margaret-Ann Diedricks, the government’s Water and Sanitation Director General, authorised the release of extra water from the Katse Dam. The flow of the 10 Cumecs (a cumec is the flow of one cubic meter of fluid per second) started the day before Christmas and should reach the abstraction point in Aliwal North by Saturday (2 January) after covering a distance of about 530 kilometres.
Diedricks said while the water is flowing, there is constant monitoring to assist in the decision to either increase or decrease the flow. She told SAnews.gov.za government departments are in the process of alerting communities in the downstream areas to ensure they are not taken by surprise when higher water levels are experienced. “It is important to ensure that no fatalities or destruction of property occur,” said Diedricks.”
Other areas of South Africa is also feeling the impact of the drought with large areas of the Free State’s agricultural areas in desperate need of rain.