Water crisis in 26 Free State towns

At least 26 towns in the Free State currently have no water at all, water supply disruptions, or extremely unhygienic water coming from their taps, a survey by DA public representatives has found.

Churchill Dam overflowing

Water problems in these towns are mainly being caused through water treatment plants and pipes that are dilapidated while some dams are completely dry.

The DA sent a formal demand to Corporate governance MEC Olly Mlamleli urging her to come up with a concrete action plan to solve this crisis with immediate effect.

In the DA’s survey, local public representatives across the Free State were asked about the current water supply status in their towns. The towns identified as currently experiencing a water crisis are:

Jacobsdal, Fauresmith, Trompsburg, Bethulie, Smithfield, Zastron, Wepener, Dewetsdorp, Dealesville, Brandfort, Theunissen, Winburg, Soutpan, Tweespruit, Marquard, Clocolan, Steynsrus, Fouriesburg, Memel, Warden, Petrus Steyn, Lindley, Parys, Koppies, Vredefort and Oranjeville.

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Healthcare facilities are struggling to stay operational without water and this prevents health care practitioners from treating patients with fractures and stitching as they are also unable to wash and sterilise medical equipment.

Infants with basic health problems are being turned away from local clinics in towns like Brandfort as the water crisis continues.

Schools from marginalised communities have to discontinue their feeding schemes to the detriment of poor learners. Students and educators cannot use school toilets.

Local businesses such as hotels and restaurants have also been adversely affected and they cannot run their businesses without water.

This is unacceptable in a 19-year-old democratic country where water has been constitutionally declared to be a basic right.