The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says it has dispatched its technical and disaster management teams to the South Coast where the municipal tap water supply has been reported to contain salt.

The department said the municipal tap water supply is strained as a result of the prolonged drought.

KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the department is aware that a number of South Coast towns, including Port Shepstone, Margate and Hibberdene, have been reporting salty tap water as a result of their municipalities’ need to pump water from rivers to replenish the diminishing water supply.

The department said it is ensuring that the effects of the ongoing drought are minimised as much as possible and that all KZN communities continue to access water through emergency supplies such as additional boreholes, water tankers or water pumps from alternative sources.

“… We are not facing this crisis alone. We are receiving support from the national government as a result of the formal declaration of disaster in the whole of KZN. This has unlocked funding both from the National Department of Water and Sanitation and the National Disaster Management Centre,” said MEC Dube-Ncube.

Interventions

The department said the implementation of specific drought relief projects is ongoing in all municipalities after the initial allocation of R352.4 million was announced last year to aid KZN municipalities.

District municipalities were allocated funds accordingly. R35 million was allocated to Ugu, R25 million to Umgungundlovu, R23 million to Uthukela, R31.4 million to Umzinyathi, R37 million to Zululand, R91 million to Umkhanyakude, R48 million to Uthungulu, R37 million to Ilembe, and R25 million Harry Gwala.

The department said it has appointed Umgeni Water and Umhlathuze Water to fast-track the procurement and distribution of water tankers to the identified municipalities that are responsible for the installation of static water tanks, spring protection, upgrade of water supply systems, boreholes, water tankering and programme management.

“Subsequently, a further amount of R91.3 million was allocated to KZN, bringing the total drought relief allocation to the province to date to R443.7 million.

“Of this, R172.2 million has been spent on the purchase of 45 water tankers and water tankering services by municipalities,” said the department.

In addition, the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has allocated a further R24.6 million to KZN municipalities for the drilling of boreholes and installation of micro water supply schemes and hand pumps.

It said the Department of Agriculture has also contributed a sum of R6 million towards drought relief and these funds are earmarked for animal fodder.

The department said the funding from NDMC has been allocated to four district municipalities. R47.5 million was allocated to Umgungundlovu, R2.685 million to Uthukela, R7.980 million to Umzinyathi and R9.250 million to Ilembe.