As dam levels continue to drop by a percent week-on-week countrywide, the good news is that the levels in Eastern Cape have stabilized at 50,6%, a sign that water users in the province have doubled their water conservation efforts.
This follows fears recently that the province’s dams might drop below half, plunging the region into yet another water crisis like the one that plagued the province last year. In 2019 the province experienced the most debilitating drought ever that left vast parts without a drop to drink. This led the Provincial Government to declare the province a disaster area and millions of rands were spent to refurbish dysfunctional boreholes, whilst water tankers and tanks were introduced.
The Butterworth water treatment works was refurbished in 2019 at a cost of R8-million during a crippling drought that saw the dams in the area running dry. After that, the Amathole Municipality received millions of rand in grants for boreholes, new infrastructure and rainwater tanks.
At the end of 2019, Gcuwa and Xilinxa, the two dams supplying Butterworth, were at 0%. According to the latest figures available from the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Gcuwa dam is now 81.1% full while the Xilinza dam is only at 4.5%.
Drought rollover of more than R57-million in funding for Mnquma Local Municipality was approved for 33 boreholes and infrastructure to connect them to the water treatment plant. At the time, 70 rainwater tanks were also allocated to the Amathole District Municipality.