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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) welcomes the collective efforts and interventions by various stakeholders to minimize the impact of the water supply challenges faced by the community of Barberton and surrounding areas as a result of the drought in parts of the country.

DWS is working with the City of Mbombela, and other government and private stakeholders to mitigate the negative effects of the drought and minimize the impact on the community as a result of the low water levels in the Lomati Dam and the Queens River.

The Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency imposed restrictions in July as a control measure to ensure that the Lomati Dam does not run dry so as to protect the infrastructure.

It needs to be taken into consideration that restrictions are a last resort mainly to protect the infrastructure and not to punish people. As the country is facing high temperatures leading to more evaporation and very low prospects of rain, everyone needs to play a role in ensuring water security as climate change is a harsh reality.

This is even more apparent in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region broadly. The Department would therefore like to plead with the community to also protect water infrastructure. Vandalism is the enemy of development and water security. Of the available boreholes in the Barberton area, only four are currently operational and the rest are not working mainly as a result of vandalism.

DWS also encourages the community to be more water savvy and use the available water in a wisest manner to prevent wastage as every drop counts, especially in the face of drought and the devastating impact of climate change.

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