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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in KwaZulu -Natal has committed to overseeing the speedy implementation of water infrastructure projects across the province as water storage levels continue to decline.  

The province’s dam levels have declined week-on-week to around 52%. According to DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau, the decline of water levels remains a serious concern as residents in some parts of the province continue to experience the dire effects of drought.

Ratau stated that the country as a whole has not fully recovered from the 2014 drought, with dam levels dropping drastically in most parts of the country. Last week’s heat wave served to exacerbate the situation.

In response, the DWS is implementing long-term measures to assist the situation.

District Development Model

According to Ratau, the department is working closely with water entities and provincial government to effectively implement the recently launched District Development Model aimed at improving water service delivery in the Umkhanyakude District Municipality.

“We are working hand-in-glove with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to ensure that the Model is speedily and effectively implemented. Most communities in Mkhanyakude and surrounds have been severely affected by water shortages and interruptions which often resulted in numerous protests. We have since been working tirelessly to implement the Skhemelele, Mtikini and Tembe Water Supply Project,” Ratau added.

The Shemula Bulk Water Supply Scheme has come under increasing pressure recently due to excessive water losses and increased demand due to an increase in population. The scheme is currently undergoing a major upgrade as a regional supply scheme.

Ratau says the DWS is well-aware of the challenges residents endure and has called on local municipalities to be more responsive to the plight of the people, adding that the department is enhancing the manner in which it works across the three three spheres of government.

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