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Beaufort West’s drought disaster remains in full effect, but a number of interventions have been put in place to alleviate the situation.

Last week, the Toyota Kfm 94.5 Crew visited the Great Karoo town to see how residents and business owners were handling the crisis.

The town lost the supply of the Gamka Dam – its main source of drinking water – in October 2017, and is now completely dependent on reclaimed sewage water and water drawn from 35 boreholes in the area for the towns 34 000 residents.

Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers came on board in November to assist in finding an alternative source of water to help alleviate the loss of the Gamka Dam, connecting five new boreholes to the main water supply.

According to Beaufort West mayor Jacob van der Linde, the town can safely extract a further 500 000 litres per day from that source.

However, two older boreholes ran dry earlier in December, “so it’s a matter of replacing the water that was lost”, van der Linde told Kfm 94.5.

“We’re losing sources day after day,” Hein Rust, head of the Disaster Management of the District Municipality said.

“We’re making plans for if we run out tomorrow.”

Van der Linde revealed that the town had a number of emergency measures to deal with in a worst-case scenario.
“We’ve got JoJo tanks available that will be put in strategic areas,” van der Linde said. “We’ve got two spare boreholes which will be used for trucks [to fill] the JoJo tanks.”

He also added that the town had stockpiled water in 5 litre cans that could be distributed to residents.

According to the municipality, a medium-term plan aims to bring water into the system from a new aquifer. Five boreholes to this new source had been drilled but had not yet been equipped due to budget constraints.

The Department of Local Government has secured an additional R23 million from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform that will unlock the development of these sources.

However, van der Linde reiterated that the town does have water that must be used sparingly, and encouraged locals and visitors to play their part in preserving the precious resource.

As the summer rainfall season approaches, the town and its residents hope for some relief.

"There is hope," said van der Linde.

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