Gift of the Givers Makhanda Intervention Plan.

"Please can I get some water, we have nothing to drink...we couldn't brush teeth...we didn't bath...the water is brown...there is no water in the tap...". These are the sentiments of hundreds of residents who stop our teams in every corner of Makhanda requesting water with such dignity. The smiling face deceptive of an underlying desperation visible deep in the eyes, yet the resilience, hospitality, generosity, warmth and appreciation is truly remarkable. They go about their daily activity with unparalleled enthusiasm. You can't help but marvel and feel a sense of pride that these are South Africans, enduring the challenge of a serious water deficit with commendable demeanour. We have to assist them.

Gift of the Givers teams entered Makhanda on 12 February and have been delivering hundreds of thousands of litres of bottled water to areas all over the city including Riebeeck East and Alicedale. This is only a temporary emergency solution; decisive intervention is to find quality ground water in the absence of rain.

Bring in Dr Gideon Groenewald, Gift of the Givers "water man", with an incredible gift of finding the rocks with the purest water. We map out a plan - an exploratory borehole is drilled to test the geology and we strike 30 000 litres per day at the first attempt.

The life blood of the economy is Rhodes University. If that shuts down the city shuts down. An urgent meeting is held with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, and his Infrastructure specialist, Iain L'Ange. Total co-operation is guaranteed. Drilling commences on 21 February and the aquifer yields 300 000 litres per day. A second borehole is planned. These two will be pumped into 250 000 litre reservoirs and from there through gravity will flow into the existing water reticulation system within the university's 430 buildings. Surplus water will be "housed" in JoJo tanks at the periphery of the university freely available to all citizens in keeping with Dr Mabizela's sentiment that the people of Makhanda are the people of Rhodes University. "We have a sense of community, no one can be excluded". A third borehole will be drilled in the university. This will feed into the middle and lower reservoirs of the Waainek Water Works on the west side of town as there is only 1% water left in the feeder dam. The water from the university will augment the water in the west.

Then serious interventions in the east side, drilling along the lie of the Johan Kleynhans Water Plant and pumping water directly into the reservoir to increase the volume available to the residents in that region. Hospitals including the Fort England Psychiatric Facility, schools and the densely populated informal settlements on the east side are all earmarked for similar interventions. The SAPS K9 unit and Correctional Services are next. Then, as in the east, drilling along the Waainek Water Works and pumping the water directly into the reservoir to increase capacity on the west side.

Settler's Monument has just yielded water. This is our third active borehole.  Several events are held at Settler's throughout the year. In the next two days 4000 people are expected at a choir festival. In the first week of March 30 000 people a day will visit the monument. Having its own secure water source "saves" the event and the town from further water deprivation.

Time is against us. Two dams have only 20 days of water left. Depending on funding availability Gift of the Givers will bring in more drilling machines in the race to secure water availability for a population water stressed from November last year. It's time to pray earnestly for beneficial rain.
 
  • pic2