Karoo drought crippling businesses on N1, team to report back
THE water crisis in towns along the N1 in the Karoo continues to cripple the local economies as holidaymakers making their way home avoid the areas due to the shortages.
MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell said they were expecting a preliminary report from a task team formed to come up with a number of solutions to mitigate the drought’s effects.
Bredell said water levels were critical in the towns of Beaufort West, Laingsberg and Prince Albert, all situated along the busy N1 highway.
“The task team will report back on Monday (tomorrow) and their task was to come up with immediate, short-, medium- and long-term solutions to the drought,” he said.
“In Beaufort West, they depend on two sources for water supply, with the reclamation plant supplying 16% while the reservoirs make up the remaining 84%.
“Part of the task team’s job is to establish why the boreholes have dried up. Of the 40 that they have, 17 dried up, 16 are on the edge of doing so and only seven are okay.
“We also need to look at the broader Karoo as well. Prince Albert, Laingsburg, all of them are along a busy road, and Laingsburg in particular is running out of water.
“We are currently transporting 17 000 litres there, as well as water tanks.
“But we also need long-term solutions to issues such as the enforcement of water usage and losses and currently Beaufort West is sitting at around 40% while Laingsburg is at 60%. So issues such as accounting systems and meter regulations are a necessity.”
Beaufort West municipal manager, Kosie Haarhoff said the town would continue to cut water supply as a means of stretching the little resources they have until they have a long-term plan in place.
“We still have water shedding and we have divided the town into two zones that have their water cut off at two different times, the first being from 9am – 12pm for zone 1 and 2pm – 4pm for zone two,” he said.
Manager at Beaufort West Filling Station Thembi Dube, 33, said businesses continued to experience losses as consumers took their business elsewhere due to the water shortage.
“We deal a lot with long-distance truckers, and when they come to a rest stop they want to be able to use facilities like bathrooms and showers, and when water is cut off we cannot offer those services,” he said.
“And that has a big negative effect on business because it means they go elsewhere where they can get access to water.
“We have to close down certain services whenever the water is off, and this is something that happens every day.”
Goats forage for food in the now empty Springfontein Dam. |