Fear over wa­ter lev­els in Modi­molle

African Times - - News - BUKUTA NKUNA

RES­I­DENTS of Modi­molle in Lim­popo con­tinue to live in fear fol­low­ing the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tions an­nounce­ment that the wa­ter level was wor­ri­somely low.

The an­nounce­ment was made dur­ing a cam­paign to warn res­i­dents to use wa­ter spar­ingly. Donker­poort Dam in Modi­molle stands at 14% whilst Frikkie Geyser Dam in Mook­go­pong is at 12 %.

The depart­ment de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as wor­ri­some and res­i­dents may end up with dry taps. The depart­ment also pointed out that the sit­u­a­tion may be ag­gra­vated by il­le­gal con­nec­tions.

Sci­en­tific man­ager Thabo Masike said of­fi­cials had picked up sev­eral il­le­gal wa­ter con­nec­tions within the area: “We have picked up il­le­gal con­nec­tions when we in­stalled wa­ter me­ters. But we had to first make sure that the me­ters were in good work­ing con­di­tions for us to take read­ings. If we find that a cer­tain house­hold is not us­ing wa­ter spar­ingly, we then have to call the mu­nic­i­pal­ity through their en­force­ment agency to send of­fi­cials into that area where there are il­le­gal con­nec­tions.

“Wa­ter is a ba­sic hu­man right and nor­mally when we find that there is a sit­u­a­tion of il­le­gal con­nec­tions, it is a re­spon­si­bil­ity of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to con­vert that il­le­gal­ity into le­gal­ity by rolling out pro­grams of aware­ness through ward coun­cil­lors en­gag­ing with the res­i­dents.”

He said that due to the area be­ing farm­ing-ori­en­tated, of­fi­cials have also in­formed farm­ers about us­ing wa­ter spar­ingly:“The farm­ers must con­tinue to use wa­ter within the cur­rent law­ful quar­ter al­lo­ca­tions. Be­cause the other thing we would like to do is to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of wa­ter use. As South Africa, we are a coun­try that is still in the de­vel­op­ing stage. So, we want to see more black farm­ers con­tin­u­ing with farm­ing. The only way we are go­ing to im­prove wa­ter sup­ply to our farm­ers is when we im­prove ef­fi­ciency of wa­ter use.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­ceived a R5 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion to ad­dress the cri­sis. Speak­ing to African Times, Mayor Mar­lene Van Staden said: “We cre­ated this aware­ness so that peo­ple can un­der­stand the im­pact of the wa­ter cri­sis and also to help peo­ple lower their wa­ter us­age. As the mu­nic­i­pal­ity we have not been tak­ing a long time to start events like these. It just took a while to get the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion ex­cited enough to come and as­sist us. The depart­ment has been as­sist­ing us non-stop since 2016 al­ready.”

How­ever, the DA-led mu­nic­i­pal­ity has been crit­i­cised by res­i­dents for act­ing slowly on the cri­sis. Many res­i­dents com­plained about the con­tam­i­na­tion of wa­ter to Phaga­meng town­ship.

Michael Molokong said: “They said that we only have 14% of wa­ter and that will only last us a month. The wa­ter that we re­ceive is brown. We can­not even drink this wa­ter be­cause it’s brown. What is worse is that the wa­ter some­times runs out and some of us can­not af­ford to buy it. But white peo­ple are able to do that, so we just have to drink this brown wa­ter.”

Ish­mael Matebe said that they were all af­fected by the cri­sis and that he feared that their lives were placed in dan­ger. “When you open wa­ter in the morn­ing, you will find that the wa­ter is brown so we have to use our own money to buy wa­ter here in town but they also say that it is democ­racy.”

But Van Staden ex­plained that the dis­col­oration of wa­ter was due to pipe lin­ings: “We do not have sep­a­rate wa­ter sys­tems for sep­a­rate parts of town. We get wa­ter from three sources, Ma­galies Wa­ter, bore­holes and Donker­poort Dam. All of them come to the same sys­tem and get dis­trib­uted.

“How­ever we did have prob­lems with brown dis­col­oration of wa­ter in some ar­eas of town. It is not only Phaga­meng. Bosveld­sig which is in the higher ly­ing ar­eas of town, they are nor­mally the num­ber one peo­ple who are af­fected be­cause if the wa­ter pres­sure is low they do not get wa­ter.”

Mar­lene Van Staden, Mayor of Modi­molle.

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