GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - As Graaff-Reinet locals get ready to kick off the festive season, it is not without a cloud of water woes hanging over them.
The Advertiser has received multiple reports about little to no running water in parts of Graaff-Reinet, or complaints about the colour and horrid smell of the water.
According to a statement by the Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality on 15 December, the water supply in Graaff-Reinet is safe for consumption, "as stated by water quality reports." MP Samantha Graham-Maré said last week that the DA plans to have the water independently tested.
The Advertiser reported last week that Graaff-Reinet now relies entirely on boreholes for water supply after abstraction from the Nqweba Dam halted due to high turbidity in water supply. At the time, the municipality stated that this could cause water interruptions to parts of Graaff-Reinet.
The shortage of water supply to homes worsened on 18 December, when the municipality reported vandalism at the northern wellfield in Graaff-Reinet, leaving two boreholes out of order. However, locals had been reporting water outages before the vandalism occurred.
"Water supply continues to be a challenge in our area due to the prevailing drought," local mayor Deon de Vos said in a statement on 17 December. According to De Vos, the use of borehole water has affected high-lying areas such as Umasizakhe, Kroonvale and Bergendal. However, low water pressure was also reported in lower-lying areas of Graaff-Reinet, such as Stockenstroom Street.
The municipality reported on 21 December that repairs to the vandalised boreholes had started, and that water supply was expected to improve on Wednesday 23 December.
"The municipality is aware of the areas experiencing water interruptions, due to demand exceeding supply," said Acting Municipal Spokesperson, Edwardine Abader.
"Operational plans are being implemented, such as filling of water tanks, and carting of water."
Water woes in neighbouring towns
Graaff-Reinet is not the only Dr Beyers Naudé town faced with water issues. Steytlerville locals shared photos of brown tap water, while Klipplaat residents experience water interruptions, and both Willowmore and Jansenville have little water supply.
According to a statement by De Vos, the discolouring of Steytlerville's water is due to heavy rainfall that caused three filtration tanks to burst at the Steytlerville water treatment site. "Contractors, as well as the municipal technical team, will be on-site to attend to repairs, which will result in improved water quality," De Vos said.
As for Klipplaat, De Vos said the town is receiving "the necessary attention," while two boreholes in Jansenville will also be repaired once equipment is delivered. "In Willowmore, normal water rationing continues until the implementation of a bulk water supply project that will assist with increased water supply," De Vos said. "Water trucks will cart water to all affected areas continuously."
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