South Africa through the Department of Water and Sanitation has allocated US $547,000 to JS Moroka Local Municipality to address water shortages in Mpumalanga.
As part of the interventions to ensure that communities have access to water, groundwater was identified as one of the key interventions and drought relief funded boreholes were prioritized.
Mpumalanga water projects
The funds will be used to finance groundwater development, construction 15 new boreholes while refurbishing 11 boreholes which is currently 80% complete. The projects are expected to be completed by end of this month.
The municipality has experienced water supply challenges due to persistent drought resulting from low river flows and the subsequent drying of dams, as is the case with Mkhombo Dam.
The dam located in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, serves as the main source of raw water for the vast semi-rural communities of Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality, Thembisile Hani Local Municipality and Sekhukhune District Municipality.
Due to recurring drought conditions, Mkhombo Dam levels dropped to 1% in June 2019, which has been declining since the onset of the drought in 2014. The declining trend is due to the fact that in addition to abstractions to meet raw water demand, the shallow dam basin and large surface area set the stage for elevated evaporation.
“The Mkhombo Dam catchment is characterized by low seasonal rainfall and low runoff, which has since been magnified by prevailing drought conditions. Mkhombo Dam has a storage capacity of 205 million cubic meters but over the years, it has hardly ever filled up due to its catchment characteristics,” said the water department.