Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers delivered 50 000 litres of water to the ailing Kannaland on Tuesday, but more is needed as the municipality fights off the effects of a drought.

The NGO's chief executive Imtiaz Sooliman told News24 they had been contacted to assist the municipality over the weekend, having previously aided Beaufort West and Laingsburg.

The Western Cape government has maintained that no town has run out of water, and the situation in some Western Cape municipalities is not yet at crisis point.

However, Sooliman has other thoughts.

"When we visited the Kannaland municipality area last week, officials told us that they had water to last 21 days. If that isn't a crisis, then I don't know what is," he said on Wednesday.

Kannaland municipal manager Reynold Stevens sent an appeal to Gift of the Givers on January 10.

READ: Gift of the Givers to unveil aquifer project in drought-stricken Beaufort West

In his letter, he said: "We are currently facing tremendous challenges regarding the provision of drinking water due to the drought and extreme dry weather conditions."

The municipality needed assistance with drinking water for 3 000 households or about 14 000 people.

He also said the dam levels in Calitzdorp and Zoar had dropped significantly.

Sooliman told News24 that more water was expected to be sent.

"We are anticipating more requests."

He said water drop-offs have been great and added that the people in the Kannaland municipality were grateful.

'There may be shortages, adhere to protocols'

But the Western Cape government cautioned against raising panic over the situation.

Local government spokesperson James-Brent Styan told News24: "We have been at pains to point out that there may be [water] shortages at some periods [but] this does not mean towns are running out or have run out of water."

"We urge communities and municipalities and other entities like Gift of the Givers to please contact the disaster management centre if there are concerns about water shortages in any community," he said.

WATCH: Land of Thirst - Voices from the drought-stricken Central Karoo.

In the year to end March 2019, the local government says it would have spent money to the tune of R78.2m on water alleviation in the province.

"We want to urge municipalities to please adhere to the protocols in place to address water challenges. The province, through the Department of Local Government's disaster management centre, co-ordinates all the relief efforts and we want to urge co-operation from all stakeholders," said Styan.

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