KZN to declare drought emergency
Durban - As rivers and boreholes dry up and below average rainfall is expected, the KwaZulu-Natal executive council has announced it intends declaring eight areas to be in a “state of disaster”.
This follows a council meeting about the drought situation in the province today. In a statement the province said that another high-level meeting would be held on Tuesday with various MECs and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that emergency measures are facilitated.
The affected areas fall under the uMkhanyakude, uThungulu, iLembe, Zululand, uMgungundlovu, Harry Gwala, uMzinyathi and uThukela districts.
In a statement it said that among the reasons for the concern were:
* Most rivers were not flowing properly with some completely drying.
* More than 80 percent of boreholes as alternative water sources to (existing) supply had dried up.
* The agriculture sector had been severely affected. Equally so, communal/farm dams established to cater for the livestock are dry or below expected levels.
* Most water schemes implemented by municipalities had been severely affected.
* The dry conditions had increased the province’s susceptibility to runaway veldfires, which lead to fatal fire incidents in affected areas.
The council had received a preliminary report regarding the dry conditions in the province, it said.
“Drought is defined as an extended period of abnormally dry weather that causes water shortages and crop damage.
“The recent data by SA Weather Services indicates that most of the areas that are affected have been constantly receiving less than average rainfall in the past five (5) years.
“KZN will receive below average rainfall, which has to date affected water levels in various catchments.
“Given the severity of the dry conditions that have been experienced in a number of areas in the province, the KZN Executive Council resolved to declare the situation as a state of disaster as guided by the prescript of Disaster Management Act (57 of 2002).
“In this regard, the premier will convene another high level meeting on the 14th October 2014 with the MECs responsible for Economic Development, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Finance and Agriculture and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that emergency relief measures are facilitated,” the statement said.
The council called for the public to continue to save water in these trying times.