THE Department of Water and Sanitation in KwaZulu-Natal says it will oversee the speedy implementation of water infrastructure projects across the province. This despite provincial water storage levels continuing to decline week-on-week, from 52.7% to 52.1% recently.
In a statement, department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the decline of water levels remains a serious concern, as residents in some parts of KZN continue to experience the dire effects of drought.
“The country… has not fully recovered from the 2014 drought, with dam levels dropping drastically in most parts of the country. The heatwave we experienced [recently] has also exacerbated the situation.”
Ratau said following the recent launch of the District Development Model by Premier Sihle Zikalala, which is aimed at improving water service delivery in Umkhanyakude District Municipality, the department is working closely with its water entities and provincial government to effectively implement the model.
“We are working with the KZN provincial government to ensure that the model is speedily and effectively implemented.
“Most communities in Umkhanyakude and surrounds have been severely affected by water shortages and interruptions, which often resulted in numerous protests. We have since been working tirelessly to implement the Skhemelele, Mtikini and Tembe Water Supply Project.”
Ratau said the Shemula Bulk Water Supply Scheme had come under increasing pressure due to excessive water losses and increased demand due to an increase in the population. The scheme is currently undergoing a major upgrade to become a regional supply scheme.
“The weekly decline of dam levels in the province is being monitored with a great deal of concern. What we are doing on the ground is implementing long-term measures to assist the situation.”
He said the department was aware of the challenges which residents endure. He urged local municipalities to be more responsive to the plight of the people.
“We are inundated with calls through our department’s call centre. The calls we get are mainly about leaking pipes and water interruptions, which are too often not clearly communicated.
“It is for this reason that we have improved and are enhancing the manner in which we work as the three spheres of government.” – SAnews.gov.za