The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in KwaZulu-Natal has maintained that it will oversee the speedy implementation of water infrastructure projects across the province.
This comes as provincial water storage continued to decline week-on-week to 52.1% this week from 52.7% last week.
DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says the decline of water levels remains a serious concern as residents in some parts of the province continue to experience the dire effects of drought.
“The country as a whole has not fully recovered from the 2014 drought, with dam levels dropping drastically in most parts of the country. The heat wave we experienced this week has also exacerbated the situation,” he adds.
Ratau says that, following the recent launch of the District Development Model by Premier Sihle Zikalala, which is aimed at improving water service delivery in the Umkhanyakude district municipality, the department is working closely with its water entities and provincial government to effectively implement the model.
“We are working hand in glove with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to ensure that the model is speedily and effectively implemented.
"Most communities in Mkhanyakude and surrounds have been severely affected by water shortages and interruptions which often resulted in numerous protests. We have since been working tirelessly to implement the Skhemelele, Mtikini and Tembe water supply project,” Ratau notes.
Meanwhile, the Shemula Bulk Water Supply Scheme has come under increasing pressure in the recent past owing to excessive water losses and increased demand owing to an increase in population.
The scheme is undergoing a major upgrade as a regional supply scheme.
"The weekly decline of dam levels in the province is being monitored with a great deal of concern. What we are doing on the ground is implementing long-term measures to assist the situation,” Ratau states.
He maintains that the DWS is well aware of the challenges residents endure and, as a result, has called on local municipalities to be more responsive to the plight of the people.
“We are inundated with calls through our call centre. The calls we get are mainly about leaking pipes and water interruptions which are too often not clearly communicated. It is for this reason that we have improved and are enhancing the manner in which we work as the three spheres of government,” he notes.
In managing the current water challenges in the province, the DWS, together with its entities and provincial government, is implementing intervention measures to help alleviate the situation.