Western Cape next water disaster province?

By Staff Writer
Wednesday saw the decision being taken to request that the Western Cape’s water shortage situation be given disaster status by national government, allowing farmers to apply for much needed financial assistance.

Following the declaration of disasters in various other parts of the country, namely Gauteng and the KwaZulu Natal provinces the country has been in an uproar about stressed conditions, as this year has seen a significant lack of rainfall nationwide. The situation has now exacerbated by an increased demand for water as we head into the hot summer months.

“Our assessments of the provincial water situation found more than one region or district municipality in the province is experiencing very dry and water-stressed conditions,” said Anton Bredell, the minister of local government, environmental affairs and development planning for Western Cape Government, reported Fin24.

The crisis
“The provincial disaster management team (WCDMC) is continuously assessing the situation in the Western Cape. The WCDMC has several contingency plans in place should the water and drought situation become more serious. In the Western Cape we plan for all scenarios. With regards to the request to the national department to classify a provincial disaster, we await their response,” James-Brent Styan, media liaison officer for the ministry of local government, environmental affairs and development planning for the Western Cape Government.

Despite the application for the confirmation of a water disaster being in a pending state, Styan went further in stating that several towns in the Western Cape are already implementing water restrictions. “This may increase over the summer period. Water restrictions in the Western Cape is still mostly a precautionary measure to ensure proper management of the resource going forward.”

With this being the worst drought the country has seen since the early 90’s, the government has had to resume a hands-on role especially in those water stressed parts of the country that are of the continents biggest agricultural suppliers.

With the Western Cape reportedly producing the majority of the country’s wine grapes and wheat, this area needs to be closely watched.

“Should there not be rain, we anticipate a substantial decline in yield. This will impact profits in the agricultural sector and result in a potential increase in the price of food. There is a possibility that white maize would be substantially impacted,” stated Alan Winde, minister of economic opportunities for the Western Cape Government.

“Use water wisely in your daily life. It is a scarce resource and every drop saved helps. When you see water leaking somewhere or broken pipes, contact local authorities immediately,” advised Styan. 

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