Cape Water Crisis: Rainfall 'remains unpredictable' as R74m allocated to drought relief

2017-08-30 06:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town -  The rainfall forecast for the Western Cape for winter is still uncertain according to the South African Weather Service, with the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought for the province putting processes in place to deal with it accordingly. 

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen has confirmed government will allocate R74m in relief funding to respond to the persistent drought in the Western Cape, during an Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought update on Tuesday, 29 August. 

The announcement comes after the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) declared the Western Cape drought situation as a provincial disaster after conducting assessments in June and July this year.

SEE: Cape’s water crisis: Tourism sector continues to raise awareness

“The total cost of providing emergency disaster relief to Western Cape Province is R74 866 263. Of this amount, R40 million will be allocated towards livestock feed to be expended by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in light of the drought situation and the fires experienced recently in the province,” says Van Rooyen.

Providing a breakdown of the funding, the Minister said of the R34 million that will be used for relief projects within identified municipalities, the City of Cape Town would be allocated R20 million, Bitou Local Municipality R10.9 million, while R3.1 million would be channelled to the Theewaterskloof Municipality. All these payments would be made from Cogta’s Municipal Disaster Grant.

The rainfall forecast for the Western Cape for winter continues to remain uncertain with the City of Cape Town continuing to warn that despite the recent rainfalls, consumption remains too high if dam levels are expected to sustain the province during the summer period of 2018. 

SEE: WATCH: Welcomed Cape rain but 'consumption still too high to ensure enough water through summer 2018'

“It is then recommended that the current drought risk reduction measures be continued as our country is generally drought prone.

The South African Weather Service is expected to continue monitoring and advising on medium and short-range weather forecasts for the development of weather conditions in order to inform actions to inform risk reduction,” says Van Rooyen.

The announcement comes as water dam levels in the Western Cape remain at undesirable levels.

On Tuesday the City of Cape Town has confirmed that dam storage levels are currently at 34,2% with useable water at 24,2%. Collective consumption is at 599 million litres of water per day. This is 99 million litres above the target of 500 million litres

The Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought will continue to monitor the drought conditions in the Western Cape and offer the required support through relevant sector departments to mitigate the situation - including the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to mobilise available resources, as well as the necessary support required by the provinces.

“It is also notable that while rainfalls have been received in some parts of the country, particularly the summer rainfall areas, the drought conditions are still persisting calling for conservative measures in undertaking agricultural practices and the general utilisation of water by our people,” says Van Rooyen. 

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