Gamtoos farmers’ water woes eased, but ‘not quite good enough’

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Earlier this month, the Department of Water and Sanitation marginally eased farmers’ Kouga Dam water allocations from 20% to 40% of their usual annual drawings, after negotiations with the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB).

The department’s move follows rains in the region which raised the level of the dam in September from 7% to its current 54%, with the combined levels of dams in the Algoa water system also sitting at 54%. But farmers and the irrigation board, while grateful for the marginal easing of restrictions, maintain that the department could have been more lenient.

“There is more water available, and the allocation could perhaps have been increased to 60%. But we are grateful to the department – and especially to the department’s regional representatives – for fighting to achieve the lifting of restrictions to 40% [of farmers’ annual allocations],” said GIB CEO Pierre Joubert, adding that 200 farmers drew water from the dam.

“If the Algoa system reaches 65%, then all restrictions pertaining to irrigation will be lifted per the government regulations.”

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