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Beaufort West’s Dams Are Completely Dry

Author: Melissa Cohen
Date: 2017-11-14
Beaufort West officially has no dam water available. The town has been declared a disaster area, making CT’s ‘Day Zero’ a possible reality.
Just when the people of Cape Town thought their water shortage was the worst, Beaufort West came in from behind. The small 37 000 populated Karoo town has reached a 'Day Zero'. The Gamka Dam, the main dam that supplies water to the Central Karoo, has run dry. Residents of the town now rely solely on borehole water and recycled sewage water. Now that Beaufort West has no dam water, what is the province doing to ensure that there isn't a complete shutdown? We find out...
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The Current Situation

The Western Cape government has denied that Beaufort West has in fact reached 'Day Zero'. According to Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell spokesperson, James-Brent Styan, the town has only "run out of surface water". The Gamka Dam, which was the biggest dam feeding the Karoo, is now only left with dead fish carcasses and dry mud. Styan has expressed that although Beaufort West's water problem is bad, there are other places such as Kannaland, Knysna and Bitou that are worse off.
"The Provincial Disaster Management Centre was activated and continues to monitor the situation across the province," explained Styan in a previous interview.

Is There Still Water? 

Beaufort West's Mayor, Jaapie van der Linde, explained that the town has 34 borehole water systems in place. This is providing enough water for residents and businesses.
"We are monitoring the boreholes each and every day. Our biggest challenge is that we need more funding to get more boreholes on line. We have two options in Beaufort West which is to impose stricter water restrictions and drill more boreholes," explained van der Linde.
In order for Beaufort West to get their water crisis under control, they require funding. An order has been placed for 40 water tankers. Van der Linde expressed that they might have a private donation of R4.5 million, however that won't be enough to build more water infrastructure.
"The town needs about R23 million to build more water infrastructure and we simply don’t have that money," adds van der Linde.
The town aims to implement stricter restrictions and as well as drill for more boreholes. Officials have said however, that this could cost R45 million.
What will happen if the water runs out? Read More here!

Cape Town's Crisis

Just weeks ago, Cape Town Mayor, Patricia De Lille, announced that Cape Town will be going into Phase One of the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan. Last week, the water available in dams around the city declined by 0.7% to 37.8%, with 27.8% of that water being usable water. Cape Town's current total water usage is 602 million liters per day. This is a whopping 102 million liters more than the required limit. If citizens continue to use more water than required, the possibly that Cape Town could hit 'Day Zero' in March 2018 is very high.  

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