The Western Cape government needs another US $35.5m to deal with the current water crisis. This is the outcome of a meeting held in parliament mid last week on Water and Sanitation in the country.
The head of the National Disaster Management Center (NDMC), Dr Mmaphaka Tau, said an area should satisfy certain conditions before being declared a disaster area. An emergency relief grant of US $35.5m then follows within three months.
On the other hand, Graham Paulse from the Western Cape government says drought affected areas need approximately US $38.5m; this is in addition to the US $5.3m from the National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee member for water and waste management, said that the City of Cape Town was already looking at ways of making this funds available. In the meantime, options available are cash reserves, budget cuts and additional loans. However, she said the City had to wait for a response from National Treasury for permission to hold a special budget appropriations meeting. This will serve the purpose of authorizing the movement of funds to water projects.
According to Xanthea, immediate funds need a special budget appropriations meeting as well as permission from National Treasury. This is because meetings to consider redirecting funds are held twice a year.
The drought and water crisis in the Western Cape has dams running below capacity. Currently, dam levels fare at 38.5% compared to 61.1% at the same time last year. Trevor Balzer from the Department of Water and Sanitation warned that low rainfall during the summer months could spell more disaster for the already drought stricken province.