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Drought-stricken Swartruggens communtiy longs for running water

The area is one of many affected by the worst drought to hit South Africa in decades.

Hundreds of community members in Swartruggens have come out to get water on 23 January 2016. Picture: thando kubheka/EWN.

SWARTRUGGENS - Residents of Swartruggens in the North West have described to Eyewitness News the challenges they have been faced with after nearly six months of living without water supply.

The area is one of many that has been affected by the worst drought to hit South Africa in decades.

Humanitarian initiative Operation Hydrate delivered thousands of litres of water in the North West and Free State at the weekend.

Locals in Swartruggens say it's been tough not having a single drop of water in their taps.

One local resident said, "The last time I saw myself on a tap for running water it's like maybe six months back."

Another resident said that while water tankers are distributed at least once a day, there's simply not enough supply to run her household.

"We are suffering because we don't have water to wash and to cook. We don't have water. We are suffering a lot."

She has pleaded with government to intervene.

"Provide us with water [because] water is life."

#Drought Hundreds of community members here in Swartruggens have come out to get water. TK pic.twitter.com/t6alN2VlpE

#Drought Operation Hydrate trucks arriving here in Swartruggens in the North West to deliver water. TK pic.twitter.com/8fjZFqQy1n

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Operation Hydrate and Proudly South African have announced that they have joined forces to launch the country's biggest 'water drive' in an effort to bring much needed and urgent relief to affected communities across the country.

GEORGE RESIDENTS DONATE WATER

George residents in the Southern Cape have thrown their weight behind drought relief efforts and have pledged to donate thousands of litres of water.

The Eden District Municipality says despite its dam levels exceeding capacity at the moment, the region is no stranger to water shortages.

The area suffered a crippling drought in 2009, resulting in severe water restrictions and regular distribution of bottled water to every household in the municipality.

Mayor Charles Standers says it is for this reason that residents have been particularly keen to help struggling communities by joining the hydration operation.

"We are aware of what's happening in the rest of the country where people are struggling with water. We have more than enough water in our city, our dams are 100 percent full and that is why we decided as a municipality to to support this cause."

More than two million litres of water has already been distributed to drought-stricken provinces including the North West and Kwa-Zulu Natal through the Operation Hydrate campaign.

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