Water crisis in Vanwyksvlei

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader

Vanwyksvlei in the Kareeberg municipality is experiencing a serious water crisis.

The town relies largely on groundwater and rainwater stored during the rainy season. Due to poor rainfall this year, the water levels have dropped. Water has long since been piped in from two farms, respectively 25 kilometres and 30 kilometres away from town. Both sources are now depleted. Water to residents is now restricted from 8am until 6pm. After 6pm, a very thin trickle of water is available to residents. A water tank delivers water in some affected areas. Since the water levels are extremely low and boreholes are being heavily pumped, the quality of water leaves much to be desired. Before the current crisis developed, 11% of households in the municipality did not have access to water in their homes.

Access to clean water is a basic human right which must be protected. Water is crucial to the daily survival of our people and their animals. It is impossible for a clinic to function or for normal schooling to take place amidst such a crisis. According to the 2011 census, 21% of residents in the Kareeberg municipality still need to use pit or bucket toilets. Without water, this becomes a breeding ground for diseases. The current situation is unhygienic, unsanitary and ultimately a violation of our people’s right to water.

Plans are underway to pipe in water from Carnarvon, rather than using the Orange River via Copperton. We are satisfied to note that, in the 2012-13 financial year, the municipality spent its entire Municipal Infrastructure Grant. We will be following up with the municipality to ensure that the necessary and relevant action is taken to resolve the situation.

We urge the municipal officials involved to agree on an efficient solution which will restore water and dignity to Vanwyskvlei.