Grahamstown on the Verge of Day Zero. Rhodes University in Danger of Shutting Down.

Makhanda (Grahamstown) is in serious trouble, water speaking. Settlers Dam is at 13%, water cannot be extracted from the last 10% due to high silt levels, effectively it has 3% reserves. Waainek Water Treatment Works that receives water from the very much smaller Howiesons Poort Dam had a problem with its pumping capacity due to electrical failure recently and was out of service for a few days. However, with rapidly dropping water levels in HP Dam, the Waainek Water Works will essentially shutdown. It supplies the West of the town with 8 Megaliters per day. The only feasible option is the James Kleynhans Water Works which is also compromised currently. It receives water from the Glen Melville Dam which in turn receives water from the Orange-Fish River scheme. But recent high content of mud that was released into the dam from the Fish River necessitated shutting down the pumps to allow for the mud to settle. Currently 80000 people in parts of Makhanda east and 19 streets in Makhanda West are without water. The municipality and residents are using water tankers and bottled water to compensate but the shortfall is huge.

Citizens of Grahamstown have been contacting Gift of the Givers over the weekend to assist. The Municipal Manager and other members of the council have confirmed the crisis. "The mayor, council members and management team will wait at the gates of the town for your trucks. We will graciously accept whatever assistance you can offer. Our situation is desperate. We've had no water for 6 days already. We need your help" - Speaker of the Municipality. Gift of the Givers trucks are currently loading water and depart tomorrow from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban with hundreds of tons of bottled water. Dr Gideon Groenewald, Gift of the Givers specialist hydrologist, geologist, palaentologist, will engage the municipality to see what sustainable alternatives could be found in the immediate to medium term as work continues to double the capacity of the James Kleynhans Water Works to 20 Megalitres by 2020. Currently it provides 10 Megalitres per day once functional. It may soon be the only source of supply to Makhanda once all the other water systems shut down. There will be a daily deficit of 8 Megalitres. Water will be rationed to 20 litres per day, supplied two days on and two days off. This in essence is Day Zero. Rhodes University Vice Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, has made a clear public statement that in the absence of reasonable water sources, "Rhodes University will have to close its doors". Dr Groenewald has been responsible for successfully sighting water for Gift of the Givers enabling us to drill 200 boreholes in an eight month period providing 50 million litres of water daily.

Gift of the Givers will assist as best it can. Intervention in the drought through boreholes, bottled water, animal fodder and food parcels for retrenched farmworkers has already cost us R160 million. Contributions into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Account Number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref. Drought, will be accepted. To obtain Section 18A tax benefit certificate please send proof of payment to donations@giftofthegivers.org. Details toll-free on 0800786911. Visit our website and Facebook page for updates.
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