Armscor, the national procurement agency for the Department of Defence, was called upon this week to help solve a water crisis unfolding on the lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Water outages have plagued Port Edward and surrounding areas, as well as luxury tourism establishments, holiday homes and B&Bs.

With many residents and businesses unable to get tap water, the Ugu District Municipality requested the military hardware procurement agency to help fix a broken pump station that supplies water to reservoirs serving Ramsgate through to Port Edward and inland up to Izingolweni.

“We were hoping Armscor would be able to procure a new pump faster and cheaper than we could,” said municipal manager DD Naidoo to Sowetan Live.

“But we have since managed to get spares from a supplier, and plan to fix the pump station this weekend.”

The South Coast Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned about the long-term impact on the area, saying that many tourists would not revisit after having bad experiences in the area.

Chairperson of the Port Edward Ratepayers’ Association Doug Powell agreed.

“Resorts and B&Bs that do not have sufficient water storage can’t accommodate guests. The loss of tourism revenue is massive,” said Powell.

Small businesses have been hit particularly hard with many shutting down when water is not available.

Direct losses have also been incurred in the construction industry with new developments coming to a halt.