GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - The gruelling drought across the Karoo is worsening, with Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman saying water demands are going to increase, amplifying the ever growing crisis.
Dr Gideon Groenewald, chief hydrologist of Gift of the Givers, said the crises is far beyond a drought-stricken problem. "It's becoming a humanitarian disaster."
Sooliman said on 8 December that Gift of the Givers' rapid response teams are battling to keep up with demands.
The organisation intervened in Graaff-Reinet and surrounding areas on 1 October this year. Up to 6 December, with the help of JM Landmann Drilling Services, they drilled eight boreholes at seven Graaff-Reinet schools, and one at the Midland Hospital.
According to Groenewald, the nine boreholes pump approximately 320 000 litres water per day, but the demand is too big for the boreholes to solve the problem.
In the meantime, Gift of the Givers has ceased drilling certain boreholes in town, due to a conflict of interest.
According to Groenewald, local drilling businesses are losing money and not getting drilling contracts, as Gift of the Givers offer the service for free. "For this reason, we have stopped drilling for now."
However, the contract between the National Department of Education and Health and Gift of the Givers to drill boreholes on education and health department grounds still stands. The relief organisations is only forbidden to drill on municipal property, due to standing contracts valid until 2022.
"The Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality is not to blame for the fact that we may not drill on their ground," Groenewald said. "The contracts were signed before we intervened."
Despite halting their drilling work, the organisation will continue to drive trucks laden with fodder, grain, bottled water and food packages to town. Groenewald explained that they can only do this based on a request by the community and relevant organisations.
Up to date Sooliman and his team have transported 199 500 five litres of water, 15 super links fodder and grain, and 300 food parcels to town. They also donated 5 000 cabbages to pig farmers.
Motor giant Isuzu has donated three water tankers and three bakkies to Gift of the Givers, to transport fodder and water.
"More tankers are expected from AECI," said Ali Sabley, Gift of the Givers project manager.
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