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Govt adds R100m to drought relief efforts across SA

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the funds will be added to the R352 million already earmarked.

FILE: Government will also allow the relocation of livestock onto state-owned land where there are better pastures. Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - Government has added nearly R100 million more to drought relief efforts.

At a post cabinet briefing in Cape Town today, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said the additional funds will be added to the R352 million already earmarked.

LISTEN: Why water is the new Eskom...

He says relief efforts include the purchase of 45 water tankers in affected areas.

Radebe says government will also allow the relocation of livestock onto state-owned land where there are better pastures.

"In addition, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has also been coordinating with mayors to implement various water saving measures, under the guidance of the Department of Water and Sanitation."

WATCH: Drought hits SA farmers hard

At the same time, the Water and Sanitation Department says due to low rainfall in the Western Cape this past winter, damn levels in some parts of the province are under strain.

Levels at Cape Town's dams are almost 30 percent lower this summer compared to last year.

The West Coast and some parts of the Breede River have been described as 'moderately' to 'extremely' dry.

The department's Sputnik Ratau says the Western Cape generally receives a lot of winter rain.

"In the season that has passed there was not a lot of rain as normal. This has therefore been a cause for concern, especially for the farmers in the area and others."

Ratau adds that in areas like the City of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Drakenstein area, levels are somewhat steady.

"The amount of run-off has been sufficient for us to call it stable, but we must consider the fact that we are still a water scarce country."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department says an increase in water tariffs may be implemented.

WATER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED IN GAUTENG

Rand Water, along with the Gauteng government has launched a 'Save Water' campaign, aimed at changing the public's behaviour in terms of water usage.

WATCH: Solving Gauteng's water 'crisis'

Municipalities, a number of organisations and Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo have gathered at the Zwartkopjes Pump Station, south of Johannesburg, to address serious issues around the provinces' water supply.

At the moment, the level at the Vaal Dam is at 54 percent, which could dip even lower in the near future.

Rand Water says the campaign launched today is vital to ensure individuals, businesses and stakeholders are aware of the severity of the situation.

Gauteng may also have to supply water to surrounding provinces, which have declared a drought, so even if there is more rain, water needs to be conserved.

LISTEN: What can be done about SA's water crisis?

At the moment, between 20 and 30 percent of supply is being lost due to leakages and burst pipes, with municipalities being urged to address these issues urgently.

Stakeholders say that water shortages are here to stay for some time, as demand is increasing as the population grows.

So, behavior in terms of consumption needs to change.

HARVESTING WATER

MEC Mamabolo has urged residents to start harvesting water for a worst case scenario.

With no major rainfall expected and high temperatures, water supply in Gauteng and surrounding provinces is expected to be limited.

Mamabolo says a door to door campaign will start from today, to educate residents and business owners about severe water shortages.

He says there will always be a risk and there simply isn't enough water, so members of the public need to start saving water from now.

"We want you to go and to buy storage facilities to harvest water. Ideally, every house must have a water harvesting capability."

He says schools, hospitals and clinics must look at getting JoJo tanks in case the taps run dry.

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