Alex Japho Matlala
3 minute read
25 Jan 2021
12:28 pm

Heavy rains from Eloise lead to lack of water in Limpopo

Alex Japho Matlala

In a cruelly ironic twist, the heavy rains brought along by Tropical Cyclone Eloise have damaged water infrastructure, which supply some of the largest towns and cities in Limpopo.

This handout picture released by the UN shows a general view of damage caused by floods after Cyclone Eloise, in Beira, on 23 January 2021. Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall around 2.30am wind speeds of 160km/h. The worst of the storm's winds are over but flooding remains a major threat in the days to come. Picture: Brenda Hada/United Nations/AFP

Water for cooking or bathing will be in short supply in Limpopo for the foreseeable future, after the Tropical Cyclone Eloise wreaked havoc in the province at the weekend.

The cyclone damaged electric cables and poles leading to a dam that supplies Polokwane, Mankweng, Seshego, Lebowakgomo and surrounding villages with water. Although the Polokwane municipality reported on Sunday that the loss of supply was only temporary, residents have already started to feel the brunt of the aftermath of the cyclone, and praying for the rain to stop.

“Our reservoir levels are at their lowest. The reservoir feeding Polokwane and surrounding with water from Ebenezer Dam is currently sitting at 0%. This is due to the challenges experienced from the dam line,” said the municipality in a statement on Sunday.

ALSO READ: Gauteng residents warned to expect more rainfall this week as Eloise hits SA

“This morning’s water supply readings from Ebenezer Scheme shows that the scheme is not pumping water to Polokwane areas of supply. The Lepelle Northern Water Board has notified us about the major power outages that are experienced in the Tzaneen area which also affect the Ebenezer Plant.

But the situation will not be permanent. This is so because the Lepelle Northern Water team, a state- owned water utility responsible for the supply of bulk water in the province, is attending to the problem. The utility will provide updates in terms of progress in resolving power dips affecting the Ebenezer line”

Residents affected by the problem have told The Citizen that the situation was dire and that urgent intervention was needed.

“We are now compelled to buy water from other areas to enable us to carry on with our lives, as the water provided by the municipality by trucks is not enough. Some of those without money to buy water are in trouble,” said Malusi Mogale of Toronto in Turfloop.

Another resident, Tebogo Maake of Bendor, pleaded with the municipality to bring more water in trucks, saying she had no money to buy water. The municipality said in a statement it would continue providing water through tankering.

PICS: Kruger Park roads flooded as Eloise brings heavy rain to SA’s north

Limpopo MEC for cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs, Basikopo Makamu said other areas affected by the cyclone were Thulamela in Thohoyandou, Tzaneen, Modjadjiskloof, Hoedspruit, Makhado and Giyani.

“Although there are no major casualties as a result of the storm, some families have been relocated to places of safety after their houses were swept away by the storm. The situation is still under control at the moment as no major damages or deaths have been reported,” he said.

MEC for social development, Nkakareng Rakgoale said her department, working with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), had made 600 blankets and sanitisers available to assist those affected by the storms and in need.

The South African Weather Service reported last week that heavy rains were expected to continue in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal until Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Tropical storm Eloise: South Africa gears up for big rains

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.