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Hold-up with R300m drought relief funding

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“The department is also in consultation with organised farming unions to see how farmers can be assisted with water for livestock.”

THE DEPARTMENT of Water and Sanitation has announced that it is still awaiting approval from Treasury to implement R300 million drought relief in the Northern Cape.

The Minister for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, announced

R300 million drought relief funding for the drought-stricken Northern Cape after the Province was declared a drought disaster area on January 10, 2020.

Kobus Streuders, the acting provincial head of the Department of Water and Sanitation in the Northern Cape, said yesterday that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) had been in consultation with provincial and local governments in identifying the harshest drought-stricken areas and their challenges to prioritise funding in these areas according to need.

“The department is also in consultation with organised farming unions to see how farmers can be assisted with water for livestock.”

A total of R85 million has been set aside for the drilling of new boreholes as well as the refurbishment of existing ones to augment water supply to stock farmers in drought-affected areas.

“The scope further includes the laying of new pipelines to replace old infrastructure that is leaking and wasting water, the upgrading and refurbishment of desalination plants, the construction of new pump stations and the enhancement of security around water infrastructure,” Streuders added.

“Sedibeng Water has been appointed as an implementing agent and will be assisting with various water projects, including ensuring sustainable water supply to stock farmers and municipalities. In the interim, we will make emergency water available to municipalities that do not have water because people cannot be left without water.”

A total of 31 towns and their surrounding communities are affected by drought in the Northern Cape. Various intervention measures have been put in place to alleviate drought conditions, including the drilling or rehabilitation of boreholes, water tankering from available sources, water conservation awareness drives, water demand management and the implementation of water restrictions where necessary.

Streuders stated that for the financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 the DWS has spent R9.8 million and a further R90.1 million towards drought relief funding in the Northern Cape.

“The projects include drilling, fitting and equipping of water boreholes, construction of power lines, pressure towers, pump-houses with electrical solar panels, pipelines and fitting of water meters.”

The Northern Cape remains a water-scarce province with recurrent droughts.