1.5mln litres of water to reach driest areas through Operation Hydrate

A convoy of vehicles carrying water will head to parts of the North West and Free State from Gauteng.

Operation Hydrate brought Johannesburg to a standstill as 30 trucks carrying around 1,5 million litres of water departed to drought-stricken areas in three provinces.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Operation Hydrate says 35 vehicles carrying close to 1. 5 million litres of water have left the FNB stadium in Soweto, travelling to various areas to deliver much-needed water.

The trucks will travel throughout the weekend to places such as Swartruggens in the North West, Qwa-Qwa, Vryheid and other drought-affected areas placed on a hot list.

This will take the total amount of water delivered so far to about six million litres.

The Eastern Cape and the Free State have been identified as the worst affected areas.

Operation Hydrate's Yaseen Theba says the public and companies have provided most of the funding for the project.

"It's been running since 4 January, and the South African public has been amazing. All donations that we received went only to the purchase of water. All the vehicles in the six kilometre convoy were sponsored, and the fuel has been sponsored."

Last week, the operation managed to raise R61 million in one weekend.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane announced that the National Lotteries Board will donate R50 million to the project.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation opened its doors to collaborate with the water initiative and collect donations of bottled water, while Mango Airlines and Dischem donated 2,5 million litres of water to the cause.