Water crisis hurting South Coast tourism
An estimated 28000 households that rely on the Ugu District Municipality for their supply have been without water for more than a month due to storm damage to water pumps.
However, the municipality said yesterday the supply was being restored.
Eric Libman, of the Ku-Boboyi River Lodge in Port Edward, said his business was severely affected by the crisis.
“Right now I have three employees, one guest and seven rooms. Normally I would have about 200 guests a month, but I’ve only had 30. This is a disaster.
“I am losing about R30000 a month. I cannot continue like this.
“I am looking at reducing my staff or putting them on short time. I cannot sustain this situation for another month. If I did that I will be putting my business and property at risk.”
Libman said many other guest houses close to him were facing a similar situation.
He said the segment on the TV programme Carte Blanche a week ago about the crisis was the final nail in the coffin of the tourism industry.
“Carte Blanche was the last one to kill us. It is good to expose the water situation, but we need to get the word out that water is available, on and off.”
An official at another guest house said the establishment had its own water and had not faced a serious problem with cancellations.
“There is a water problem in the area, but we are coping,” she said.
DA MPL and South Coast constituency head Rishigen Viranna said tourism and agriculture were the lifeblood of the South Coast and both industries were on the brink of ruin.
He said the situation was troubling because this was not the first time the area had faced water problems.
“Two task teams have previously been deployed here to solve the crisis and both have failed.
“Ugu must be placed under administration and Umgeni water must take over the water supply because the municipality does not have the capacity.”
Ugu spokesperson France Zama said: “As of yesterday (Tuesday), water supply schemes were picking up and most areas started getting water.
“Port Edward was sitting at 70% by midday yesterday.”
He said water services technicians also confirmed supply to, among other areas, the Lower and Upper Banners Rest; Leisure Bay; Bromsfield; Glenmore; Palm Beach; Trafalgar; San Lameer; Southbroom; KwaNzimakwe; Breamer; Goqoza and Shobamdlazi.
“To prevent a repeat of this disastrous consequence, Ugu District Municipality has plans to replace the ageing infrastructure,” said Zama.