A water crisis in the town of Graaff-Reinet has seen the Nqweba Dam run dry, leaving residents “fighting” for water.

Humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers has decided to intervene and is sending trucks of water, tankers, a drilling machine and hydrologist Dr Gideon Groenewald to the Eastern Cape town.

Founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said desperate residents had resorted to collecting water from unhygienic drains and children were pushed away from water tankers as residents “fight” for the little water that arrives. 

“By all accounts, the town is on its knees and drastic intervention is urgently required,” said Sooliman. 

He said Gift of the Givers is the new official rapid response unit for the National Department of Water and Sanitation, as requested by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. 

“Intervening in Graaff Reinet is an extension of our major intervention in Eastern Cape,” said Sooliman adding that they were currently involved in supplying water in areas that include Adelaide, Bedford, Queenstown, King Williams Town, Nanaga and Makhanda. 

Apart from water tankers hydrologist, Dr Gideon Groenewald, will also pay a visit to the area. 

“The main issue of supplying water to all communities is based on a simple reality that too little water reaches the main storage tanks in the lower lying areas to automatically let the booster pumps kick in to pump water to the higher reservoirs.

“This results in water always being available in the lower part of the town but leaving people on higher ground completely dry. Most people living on higher ground are the previously disadvantaged,” said Sooliman. 

He said the solution lies in developing existing or new boreholes, manage known aquifers, supply water at a rate that exceeds water use in low lying areas, allow pumping systems to run effectively and fill high lying reservoirs as a matter of urgency, and drill boreholes directly in high lying areas if the geography allows that.

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