Day Zero has arrived at the Western Cape town of Beaufort West. The ongoing water crisis has extended its reach to the northern-most tip of the province, where the Central Karoo town is the officially the first to be left without water.
Gamka Dam, supplying Beaufort West and surrounds with water, has dried up. James-Brent Styan, Media Liason Officer from the Western Cape Local Government revealed, “It’s no longer usable to provide water to the town of 37,000 people. Beaufort West is currently relying on about 34 boreholes and seeking funding to drill an additional five more.”
For now, residents will need to rely on borehole and recycled sewage water.
Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, said, “The average dam levels in the province are around 35%. With an estimated 25% of available surface water left in the province. The worst affected areas currently are Kannaland, Beaufort-West, The City of Cape Town. Knysna and Bitou The provincial government has been delivering drought support across the province for a number of years already.
We will continue to do so. Our aim, however, is to ensure no community will run out of drinking water. We welcome visitors but must urge caution. In fact, We request that visitors to the Western Cape adhere to strict water savings measures in place as well as help us in saving water. This will be critical in tiding us over to the next rainfall period which is expected to be early winter. We also request travellers passing through the central Karoo and in particular the hub of Beaufort-West to use as little water as possible when in the area. Every drop counts.”
On Friday, collective dam levels in the Western Cape were at 37.3 % with level 5b water restrictions still in place.