Home News Kimberley’s water woes: A cycle of despair and frustration

Kimberley’s water woes: A cycle of despair and frustration

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We have seen numerous water shutdowns in the past, and yet, they don’t seem to have achieved overly much. The leaks persist, the infrastructure continues to age and the people of Kimberley continue to suffer. It is a cycle of despair and frustration, a cycle that seems to have no end.

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Dear Sir,

We only recently celebrated World Water Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of freshwater and advocating for sustainable management of freshwater resources, and it is with a heavy heart that I pen this letter.

The theme for World Water Day 2024, “Water for Peace”, seems almost ironic in light of the current situation in Kimberley.

In South Africa, World Water Day holds particular significance as it follows the celebration of Human Rights Day. Access to water is a basic human right, a fact that our municipality and local government seem to have conveniently forgotten. It is their duty to ensure that communities have reliable access to this life-sustaining resource. Yet, here in Kimberley, we are facing a five-day water shutdown after Easter.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality has announced that the shutdown is to repair major leaks on the main pipeline that feeds water from the Riverton purification plant to our city. This shutdown, scheduled from April 4 to 8, is just one of many planned to address the city’s ageing infrastructure. But how many more shutdowns must we endure? How many more times must we scramble to store water, uncertain of when the taps will flow again?

We have seen numerous water shutdowns in the past, and yet, they don’t seem to have achieved overly much. The leaks persist, the infrastructure continues to age, and the people of Kimberley continue to suffer. It is a cycle of despair and frustration, a cycle that seems to have no end.

The theme “Water for Peace” explores the links between water and conflict and instability. Well, here in Kimberley, we are living that theme. The lack of reliable access to water is causing conflict and instability within our community. It is disrupting our lives, our businesses, our schools. It is a crisis, a crisis that our municipality and local government seem unwilling or unable to adequately address.

So, I write this letter not just in anger, but in desperation. I call on the Sol Plaatje Municipality, and indeed, our Northern Cape provincial government, to do better. To remember that access to water is a human right, not a privilege. To remember that they are accountable to us, the people of Kimberley.

We deserve better. We deserve water.

Sincerely,

A concerned resident, Beaconsfield, Kimberley

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