Umar Stambuli – Cii News | 28 Muharram 1437/11 November 2015
South Africa is faced with a serious water crisis and in some areas taps might soon run dry if maximum rainfalls are not received.
Provinces like KwaZulu Natal and Free State have been declared disaster zones, with some areas said to be having a few months’ supply left.
The government has already embarked on water conservation campaign warning people to use water sparingly.
Farmers are already counting their losses, and are forecasting a drought season as the skies are not opening up.
In Port Shepstone, residents had to queue to buy water at supermarkets after salt water from the Indian Ocean contaminated water supply from Umzimkulu River last week.
With salty water running from the taps, many residents scattered around town in search of the uncontaminated precious liquid.
Whilst it was convenient for those who had cash to purchase drinkable water from shops, others had to look for alternatives.
Luck was on their side, as Muslims in the area had swiftly come together to arrange water to the residents, who were facing higher degrees of scorching sun.
The coordinator of water distribution, Dr Ayoob Moosa Bux, said the Port Shepstone Business Forum convened a meeting to map forward after they found out that there was a water crisis that was going to last for over 10 days.
He said after a meet up with business people a plan of action was adopted on how water was to be sourced and distributed to circumvent the shortage of water in the town.
“First we identified the areas where we could access water from boreholes, and Alhamdulillah the four masjids in the Port Shepstone area have boreholes, so we identified those as the first sites,” he said.
After identifying boreholes sites, the group then made contacts with home owners that have boreholes to come on board.
“Subsequently we also made contacts with homeowners who had borehole supply, the people were forthcoming and helpful,” noted Dr Bux.
He said the community also secured water tankers adding to bottled water that was donated by well-wishers, some from outside the town.
“We also got in touch with NGO’s in the area and they were able to identify areas that needed water and we were able to get water to many people as possible,” Dr Bux told Cii News.
The group which was made of volunteers went around the city distributing water, starting from the central business district and spreading to the surrounding areas.
“The first target groups were hospitals and clinic in Port Shepstone area, and we went to service some schools in outlying areas that were essentially providing water to most of the hospitals,” said Dr Bux.
The head of Port Shepstone Business Forum commended the Muslim community for providing free water to the residents who were at mercy of business owners, some of whom had increased bottled water prices due to the increased demand.
The water crisis in Port Shepstone is expected to normalise this week, but water tankers are still pitched across the town in the event the transition to normal water supplies take longer than expected.