Some farmers said on Monday that the water released from the Berg River Dam had been turned off. “We’ve been experiencing Day Zero for about three weeks and are in a predicament,” said Deon Steyn, who farms in the Hermon area.
According to Steyn, the farmers are allocated around 40% of water, but he said they hadn’t received theirs.
“The reason is because they have cut the water off, preventing it from flowing to our areas,” Steyn said.
Another farmer said some farms relied on that water and it had forced many to look for alternative water.
“Luckily we are able to assist each other. Some farmers will lend each other water when they need it,” Nelius van Santen said.
But the water that is left and not flowing with new water is left to stagnate, forming bacteria and possibly diseases.
“The water is dirty and green and is too unhealthy to drink,” Steyn said.
Agri-Western Cape spokesperson Jeanne Boshoff said producers in the Berg River region’s water quota had been entirely depleted since the end of January.
“Agriculture is allocated X amount of water, and the City of Cape Town is allocated X amount by the National Department of Water and Sanitation.
“Agriculture knew our reduced allocation would eventually run out and we managed it as effectively as possible.”
Boshoff said that due to the limited water, 50000 seasonal workers couldn’t be accommodated this year.
“While agriculture in the Western Cape has done its utmost to conserve its already reduced water allocation, other role-players have not managed their water allocation in the same way. The agriculture industry is the only industry in the world that supplies human beings with food and fibre,” Boshoff said.