THE annual dry period at Hankey and Patensie will take place over 16 days from June 15 to 30 this year.
“The dry period takes place yearly when the Gamtoos Irrigation Board shuts down the irrigation canals for maintenance,” Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks explained.
“Both towns receive water from the Kouga Dam via the canals, hence, the piped water supply basically shuts down completely over this period.”
He said water would be trucked in with tankers on the relevant days.
“Under normal rainfall conditions, water is extracted from the Klein River, via the pump station situated at the golf course, and pumped to the municipal water treatment works to cater for households’ requirements during the dry period,” he said.
“However, due to the prolonged drought, the quality of the water in the river is extremely poor. This is exacerbated by pollution from informal animal pens located next to the river below Phillipsville.
“As a result, we have been advised against making use of the Klein River for domestic purposes. The focus will be on trucking in water to the affected communities.”
He said water shedding was already being implemented in both towns as the Department of Water and Sanitation had slashed the amount of water the municipality may extract from the Kouga Dam for domestic use at Hankey and Patensie.
“This means that, outside the dry period, piped water has already been limited to a few hours’ supply in the morning and then again in the evening.”
He said the municipality had been implementing various drought mitigation measures, including the installation of rainwater tanks at strategic points, to increase the supply to households.
“We also have an ongoing programme to check and repair internal leaks at houses. More than 900 households have already benefited from this programme.”
He said the municipality has further had some success with its borehole programme.
“We have struck viable underground water sources in the vicinity of both Hankey and Patensie. The next critical step is connecting these boreholes to the existing water supply.
“Our ideal would be to secure enough alternative water sources for the towns to break their dependence on the Kouga Dam, as the municipality basically has no say in how the dam is managed and the water allocated.”
He said the water quota imposed on the towns by the Department of Water and Sanitation, which owns the Kouga Dam, was currently under review.
“It is our sincere hope that the quota will be increased so that water shedding can be lifted. Both the municipality and Gamtoos Irrigation Board have had ongoing engagements with the Department in this regard.”