The severe drought which has gripped parts of KwaZulu-Natal Province in the eastern part of South Africa is worsening with rivers and dams in the Mhlathuze area on the KZN north coast running dry.
Rural communities are the most affected. Lungani Mthembu, a 27-year-old small scale farmer who supplies local retailers with fresh produce, says the severe drought in the province has cut his production by half.
The municipality says water levels in the main dam which supplies water to most parts of Umhlathuze, about 170 kilometres northeast of here, now stand at less than 20 per cent of its capacity.
Despite the recent rains in some parts of the province, the crippling drought persists and most farmers are struggling to stay afloat.
The local authorities say the only option now is to impose further water restrictions to minimize the impact of the drought.
Towns like Richards Bay and eMpangeni are expecting scores of visitors for the festive season and warnings have been issued to hotels and bed and breakfast establishments to alert visitors to save water. "Failure to do so will result in further restrictions, says Umhlathuze Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo.
Farmers organizations say the government must intervene urgently to save the situation.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK