South Africa's Western Cape declares drought disaster

South Africa's Western Cape declares drought disaster

The South African city of Cape Town is instructing people to severely restrict water use because of the area's worst drought in more than a century.

The premier signed the declaration last week in response to the worst drought the province has experienced since 1904.

The disaster will be classified for a three-month period which can be extended, if the need arises.

Boreholes will be drilled at hospitals in Cape Town, a popular global tourist destination, a mobile desalination plant will be tested and the natural aquifer at Table mountain will be tapped.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille declared a "drought disaster", after dam levels across the province fell to about 20 per cent and little rainfall was forecast for the coming weeks.




In the previous year, at least R27 million has already been re-prioritised for interventions in areas which were declared local disasters. "In January 2016‚ parts of the West Coast and Central Karoo were declared agricultural drought disaster areas‚" said Mpofu.

In February Cape Town announced a crackdown on splashing and surfer shorts at the city's swimming pools in a bid to save water. Zille's statement added that drilling into the Table Mountain aquifer will also take place. A disaster declaration enhanced control by affording the province additional powers of intervention, it said.

Tammy de Decker‚ spokesman for Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde‚ said the department was anxious that further water restrictions "might pose a threat" to the thousands of people who depend on the jobs created by farming during the annual harvest.

Two reservoirs in the Western Cape region are already completely dry according to official statistics.

"The Western Cape department of agriculture has assisted 564 smallholders and 234 commercial farmers with fodder‚" she said.

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