The drought scourge is haunting most parts of Chris Hani District Municipality. Scarcity of rain has caused springs to cease providing water, dams and rivers have dried up, no water to drink and work and livestock suffers, reversing local economic development strides. As the provider of water services, CHDM has intervened in many parts of the district with more boreholes and water cart trucks but all of this is not enough due to the magnitude of the problem.

Some parts of the district have been hit the hardest by the drought situation: Dordrecht’s two water dams have both dried up and CHDM drilled two boreholes which are drying up and unable to provide the entire town with water and water has to be augmented with water transported with trucks from other areas. Communities have identified other sources with untreated water. The situation gets worse each day and more boreholes are currently being equipped to draw the little available underground water.

In Komani, Engcobo and Molteno water restrictions are a daily occurrence and cannot be relaxed until there is a bit of precipitation to relieve the situation. It has become dire to the extent that water is not available during the day in Engcobo and businesses have to stall their operations. As if to make the matter worse, villages have to take turns where water is pumped once in three days per village as water sources are shared and no longer have the capacity to provide water on a daily basis to all areas.

Illegal household connections are not helping the situation in villages across municipalities. People who have connected their households illegally have installed water tanks in their homes and selfishly draw huge tons of water and keep in their homes to the detriment of other community members who have to endure water shortage while others have kept sums of water in their households. Cwecweni village in Engcobo is a paragon of how to curb illegal water restrictions. The communities have stood up and disallowed people from connecting water to their houses. It should be borne in mind that the free water provided to villages is of RDP standard and is not for household connection.

While the rain still not fallen, as people there is a lot we can do to ensure that the available water is used economically. Urban households must ensure that there are no leaks in their houses and in toilets. People should report any burst pipes or leakages on the streets to 0800 100 100 (toll free). Watering of plants should be avoided or only take place in the morning or at night as watering during the day will only evaporate. When washing cars people should rather use buckets rather than hose pipes which uses huge sums of water. When bathing, the tubs should not be filled and a shower is preferable due to its water-saving nature.

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