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Bleak water outlook for Gamtoos Valley irrigation farmers

Kouga Dam


After a year of being able to draw 85% of their annual water allocations from the Kouga Dam, Gamtoos Valley farmers are facing the bleak prospect of having their water allocations cut dramatically for the coming water year.

That’s as the Kouga Dam level sinks below 10% of capacity.

The pending July 1 cut in allocations for the 132 water users in the valley who rely wholly on the dam for their citrus, cash-crop and dairy production, would mean a dramatic drop in economic activity in a region heavily dependent on agricultural production.

Aside from the agricultural water users, the Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay municipalities also draw from the dam, one of the Eastern Cape’s largest water sources.

Gamtoos Irrigation Board CEO Rienette Colesky says the agricultural users in the Gamtoos Valley have been very careful with their water use and that at the end of April, agricultural user’s water usage was 15.6% lower than normal.

Colesky said the Department of Water and Sanitation would be making a call on the new quotas after a thorough scientific analysis.

 

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