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Council to decide how to utilize R 30 Million drought funding

Oudtshoorn, 09 October 2018 – Oudtshoorn Municipality has been allocated R 30 million by the National Treasury and the National Disaster Management Centre for drought alleviation. This funding is part of a R 974 million allocated to the Western Cape Government towards disaster recovery programmes in the Province.

The funding came after the Municipality sought help from the Western Cape Provincial Government to alleviate water crisis the town is currently facing. The town’s main water resource, the Koos Raubenheimer dam level is 44% full. The Municipal Council declared a local state of disaster due to critical water shortages early in August 2018 when the dam level was just above 30%.

“The Council welcomes the funding with great gratitude, and I believe the community of the Greater Oudtshoorn is as appreciative for this much needed relief,” said the Executive Mayor, Cllr. Colan Sylvester.

“The onus is now of the Council to explore the different options that are available to appropriate the funds within the next three months,” Mayor Sylvester added.

Council was yesterday at its ordinary meeting presented with the following recommendations by the Municipal administration:

  • Firstly to deviate from the original scope of works which was:

Laying of an emergency pipeline between Blossoms wellfields and the Western reservoir to enable the Western Oudtshoorn reservoir to yield an additional five mega liter per day (Ml/d) to increase the yield to 16 Ml/d.

The dilemma, according to the Municipal Manager, Mr. Allen Paulse, the municipality if facing with this option is that, “the total cost of the Blossoms project after a detailed costing was sourced is R 80 000 million. This means this funding cannot be allocated to the Blossoms project since the funding would be insufficient for this project”.

“On the other side we cannot refuse the funding,” Paulse added. “We would have to investigate other options that can make a huge impact on the water shortages within the available funding or seek additional funding.”

Secondly, the following new option was tabled before Council for its consideration yesterday but can only be implemented once the sustainability was investigated and secured and the necessary approval from National Treasury has been granted:

  • To new scope of works:

Ground water development in Jan Fourieskraal or Waterkloof: Drilling, equipping and pumping via 6km pipeline to a modular water treatment plant into the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply System (KKRWSS) pipeline to a total estimated cost of R 30 million.

Even though the technical services maintained that the above new option being most suitable due to no loss of excellent quality water, no need for proper treatment plant as disinfection will be done at the reservoirs among others, Council did not agree or disagree with the above proposal.

Since new information became available yesterday, the proposed new option is also not the most viable,  Council decided that the technical services department must explore more options for Council to decide in its next special meeting scheduled for the 16th of October 2018.