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Task team launched to save Beaufort West from drought

Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell on Wednesday met with officials from the Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Prince Albert municipalities.

The Gamkapoort Dam in Beaufort West pictured on 13 December 2017. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department says a task team has been formed to help find relief for the Karoo town of Beaufort West, which is currently in the grips of a major water crisis.

LISTEN: Beaufort West had to introduce water shedding on Christmas Eve

Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell on Wednesday met with officials from the Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Prince Albert municipalities.

He says the situation is serious and authorities must urgently find short, medium and long-term solutions.

“Of the 40 boreholes 17 are already dried up. They don’t supply any water. Seven others are fine while 16 are on the edge. They trip the safety valve to protect the pump once every second day.”

Bredell says they are investigating some measures to access water.

“That’s why we’re going to send geologists to see if we can deepen certain boreholes and to inspect which other boreholes are drying up so that we can look at other sources.”

The three reservoirs in Beaufort West are at 11, 13 and 28% capacity.

Meanwhile, Beaufort West's water reclamation plant was expected to be online by Tuesday morning. Officials were forced to shut down the plant in the Karoo town last week for critical maintenance. The plant had worked without maintenance for about two months and was at risk of failure if the service had not taken place.

The water reclamation plant provides an estimated 20% of the town's drinking water. Officials say tourists and travellers stopping in Beaufort West are putting further pressure on water resources. NGO Gift of the Givers last week sent trucks loaded with bottled water to the Karoo town.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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