Water rationing for the Free State

Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport Butana Komphela has announced on local radio station OFM that water rationing is to be implemented in the province within the next three days.

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Komphela, who is also chairperson of the Provincial Drought Joint Operations, said if the current drought and water usage persist, the province has only 24 days water supply left.

Water supply is expected to be interrupted from between 9pm to 5am each day.

Komphela, who is in Brazil, according to his office, could not be reached for comment, said on air that the SAPS had been mobilised to enforce municipal by-laws and water restrictions. The army had also been deployed in to assist with water provision.

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Kobus Breytenbach, Free State Agriculture vice-president, called the water rationing a humanitarian disaster. He was particularly worried about the large numbers of livestock kept on municipal commonages in the province.

“The provincial government should have provided for increased demand and the possibilities of droughts. From organised agriculture’s side we are prepared to assist the authorities in any way we can to mitigate the water shortages,” he said.

James Letuka of the DA said more than a decade of poor water and sanitation infrastructure maintenance and the lack of a sound water management strategy had caused the problem. He nevertheless called on the people of the Free State to use water wisely.