There is no way of sugar coating the current status of water scarcity in South Africa. Low rainfall has caused severe drought, and almost no water, leaving five out of our nine provinces declared disaster areas.
Harrowing stories from children competing with cows for drinking water to farmers committing suicide, echoes over our barren land.
While parts of the country are battling minimal water supply as the drought crisis worsens – the community of Senekal, in the Free State, has reached desperate levels, with no water supply in the area for weeks.
The situation has become so dire, that reports of people drinking sewage water have emerged, with many in townships bearing the brunt of bone-dry taps.
Drop off points are always being updated… click here to see all of them. And remember if you can’t find one close to your area, assist “Water Shortage South Africa” by creating your own & the volunteers will assist in getting bottles collected.
Speaking to News sites on Monday, Air from Water owner Ray de Vries said he had witnessed the negative effects of the drought first-hand.
“I got in touch with Water Shortage South Africa after hearing about a farmer who had committed suicide. I, thereafter, began visiting Senekal and what I saw was dire. People have drunk raw sewage.”
“I have also seen people fight over water. Driving in, one can see dead cow and ostriches. There are even people chasing cows away from drinking water so they can have the cow’s supply. It is a sad situation and there needs to be more exposure and help for these people.”
As in the case with most disasters, humans do come up with creative solutions and show compassion towards each other, not forgetting the animals who are being affected by the water shortage too.
A wave of volunteers are setting up networks within towns, cities and villages to donate, collect and transport water to disaster areas. The water goes to a multitude of destinations. Each destination uses the water sparingly to meet their individual needs.
Co-founder for Water Shortage South Africa, Gerhard le Roux from Mossel Bay, said he and co-founder Sue Wolmarans had initiated a project to assist supply of water for desperate residents.
“We basically appealed to people going inland from the coast to please bring back bottles of still water for drinking or even tap water.”
“We created drop-off points, and people began responding to us. We just try to help as much as we can. Why there is a shortage is not our concern. We are simply trying to get as much water as we can to as many people as we can. We help old age homes, hospitals, places of that nature.”
“There have been many people that have since offered assistance and we are extremely grateful. There is even one person who wants to donate three tons of water. Logistics are just an issue for us at the moment.”
Le Roux added that the lack of water was becoming worse, with boreholes and taps “absolutely dry”.
“The other day, 2 000 litres of water we collected was finished in one weekend. There is a massive demand. We just hope to help as many people as we can.”
Senekal community leader Theo Oosthuizen said the area had seen “devastating drought conditions”.
“Things are not easy at all and our people need help. As a community, we have come together with businesses and other stakeholders to provide Jojo tanks to townships, because even the boreholes that some farmers use have gone dry. The tanks are being filled once a day.”
One example is clean drinking water in villages. As lakes dry up, mud mixes with the remainder of the water. Animals and humans often have to compete for this precious water. Donated tap water are being used in elderly homes for laundry and washing.
You too can be part of this exciting initiative. We need all hands on deck.
Ways to show you care:
* Share the stories about water scarcity, saving water & how people can help. This will promote awareness and drum up enthusiasm for volunteers and donations.
* Donate water by either buying bottled water or by filling up empty bottles you have. Take your bottles to the nearest donation station.
* Make yourself available to either man a donation depot or to transport the much needed water.
* Our international friends can help by transferring any spare change to family or friends here in SA. The money can be used to fund transport to disaster areas or hire trucks to transport water to the people/animals who need it most.