Municipal manager Allen Paulse, mayor Colan Sylvester, and chairperson of the technical services portfolio committee Johan Fourie. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - The Council of the Greater Oudtshoorn agreed to declare the region a local disaster area in light of severe water shortages, with the Raubenheimer Dam currently sitting at just 30.7%.

"The water flow out of the dam is more than the water flow into the dam," the municipality said. "If water consumption increases, coupled with the increase in weather temperature, the water level will decrease faster. At this moment, the Raubenheimer dam only has enough water for the next 160 days before reaching the surface water in the dam which is unusable," the municipality said. 

"We urge all residents to use water extremely sparingly and immediately report any leakages and pipe breakages. It is important that we all begin to realize that each drop counts and a waste can cause the water shortage crisis to deteriorate into a total disaster," said mayor Colan Sylvester on Wednesday. 

Information obtained from the South African Weather Service warns that the eastern part of the Western Cape and especially Oudtshoorn, can expect above average temperatures and below average rainfall for the next 6 months, the municipality said. 

"Following the crisis, the Council also unanimously adopted the following resolutions:
* Oudtshoorn is in partnership with the Eden District Municipality in efforts to address the current water crisis in the greater Oudtshoorn. The municipality also works with a variety of local role players in the greater Oudtshoorn as well as the Western Cape and national government.
* A local emergency committee must be established consisting of all relevant role players.
* A communication strategy is being developed for a large-scale communication campaign on the water crisis project to keep all role players and the public informed.
* Law enforcement officers will be appointed to ensure that the public adhere to the water restrictions.
* Special attention will be given to the repair of leakages across the Greater Oudtshoorn.

"The Council will hold a workshop on the following important policies and plans that will ensure better management of this crisis:
* The Drought Management Policy
* Risk Management Plan for the water crisis and also
* The communication plan also aimed at the water crisis," the municipality said. 

"The Oudtshoorn Municipal Council is viewing this water crisis as very seriously and we commit ourselves to use all available resources to ensure that the Greater Oudtshoorn gets more water and that our citizens are well educated to look after this valuable resource," Sylvester said. 

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Cape Argus