Tap­ping into un­der­ground wa­ter

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Dale Hes

THE KOUGA Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has started us­ing un­der­ground wa­ter re­sources as part of its drought re­lief pro­gramme.

The drought-stricken Eastern Cape­based Kouga Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is look­ing at ways to ex­pand its drought re­lief pro­gramme by im­ple­ment­ing new ways to boost wa­ter sup­ply.

Ac­cord­ing to Ex­ec­u­tive Mayor Elza van Lin­gen un­der­ground wa­ter re­sources are largely un­tapped in South Africa but have the po­ten­tial to se­cure wa­ter sup­plies for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties go­ing for­ward.

She said Kouga re­alised this when it drilling un­der­ground to draw wa­ter in Soetk­loof, near Hankey.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity was also in­volved in rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing and has set aside R500 000 to in­stall plas­tic tanks to col­lect rain­wa­ter run-off from roofs. The el­derly and res­i­dents liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties will get pref­er­ence in this project.

Ex­ec­u­tive Mayor van Lin­gen said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will also be im­ple­ment­ing wa­ter con­ser­va­tion and de­mand man­age­ment mea­sures, start­ing at Hankey and Paten­sie.

“The aim of the ini­tia­tive is to de­crease wa­ter losses by au­dit­ing, record­ing and re­pair­ing wa­ter meters and in­ter­nal leaks within prop­er­ties,” she said.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has also iden­ti­fied de­sali­na­tion as an­other cru­cial way to se­cure wa­ter pro­vi­sion.

Kouga has been learn­ing from in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice with of­fi­cials trav­el­ling to Is­rael to learn more about de­sali­na­tion from global lead­ers in the field.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has part­nered with Ger­man mu­nic­i­pal­ity Ils­feld to strengthen Kouga’s abil­ity to deal with drought sit­u­a­tions. A work­ing ses­sion be­tween the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties was held in Fe­bru­ary to iden­tify joint projects.

"Our Ger­man part­ners were very con­cerned about the on­go­ing drought and loom­ing wa­ter short­ages in the Kouga re­gion. In or­der to strengthen Kouga's ca­pac­ity to deal with fu­ture drought sit­u­a­tions we will be work­ing with Ils­feld to aug­ment wa­ter sup­ply to com­mu­ni­ties," she said.

De­tailed project plans, such as link­ing new wa­ter sources to Kouga’s bulk wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem, will be de­vel­oped by the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for im­ple­men­ta­tion.

In her state of the city ad­dress van Lin­gen said that the cur­rent drought was the big­gest chal­lenge Kouga has had to face since the es­tab­lish­ment of the re­gion 18 years ago.

“A year ago, the dams in the Al­goa Wa­ter Sup­ply Sys­tem – from which both Kouga and our neigh­bour, Nel­son Man­dela Bay, draw wa­ter – were just over half full at 50.2 per­cent. This has since dropped to 25.6 per­cent.

“Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern is the Kouga Dam, which is the only wa­ter sup­ply to the towns of Hankey and Paten­sie. A year ago, the dam level stood at 36 per­cent. Now it is just over 10 per­cent,” the Ex­ec­u­tive Mayor said.

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