Gift of the Givers workers load tons of water onto trucks at their storage facility.Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Gift of the Givers on Monday said they would be sending three superlinks laden with water, three water tankers, a drilling machine and its hydrologist, Dr Gideon Groenewald, to the Nqweba Dam near Graaff-Reinet on Tuesday.

The humanitarian organisation is intervening after the dam ran empty, leaving a stench of dead fish, dry boreholes and desperate residents scrambling to collect water from unhygienic drains. There have been reports that children have been pushed away from water tankers as residents "fight" for the little water that arrives. 

Spokesperson Imtiaz Sooliman said by all accounts, the town was on its knees, "water-speaking" and drastic intervention was urgently required.

Sooliman said Gift of the Givers was the new official rapid response unit for the national department of water and sanitation, as requested by minister Lindiwe Sisulu and announced by her on several public platforms recently.

"Intervening in Graaff-Reinet is an extension of our major intervention in Eastern Cape. We are currently involved in Adelaide, Bedford, Queenstown, King Williams Town, Nanaga and Makhanda; Butterworth is next.

"The main issue of supplying water to all communities is based on a simple reality that too little water reaches the main storage tanks in the lower lying areas to automatically let the booster pumps kick in to pump water to the higher reservoirs, resulting in water always being available in the lower part of the town but leaving people on higher ground completely dry."

He added: "Most people living on higher ground are the previously disadvantaged."

Sooliman said the solution lay in developing borehole systems, managing known aquifers and supplying water at a rate that exceeds water use in low lying areas.

African News Agency (ANA)