Cape Town – The Western Cape government has reallocated R95 million for resources and initiatives to avert Day Zero as the worst drought since 1906 grips the province.On Thursday, members of the provincial legislature debated the adjustment budgets for the provincial treasury, the Department of the Premier, local government and environmental affairs and development planning, economic opportunities and agriculture and cultural affairs and sport. MEC for Economic Opportunities, Agriculture and Tourism Alan Winde said R2m for water tanks for food gardens in the West Coast, Cape Winelands, Eden and Central Karoo districts had been reprioritised. An additional R10m for the installation of boreholes in rural areas has been budgeted for; R5m for clearing alien vegetation along the Berg River; R7.8m in drought assistance to research farms; and R2.5m reallocated to the water resilience project. MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell said the provincial government had plans for the worst. He added that some of the allocated money would also be used to plan for the upcoming fire season. “We have a plan in place. The budgets, although not enough, are there and we have done all we possibly can to avert the worst situation. We have a water plan signed off by the national Department of Water Affairs. We admit that so much more needs to be done, but we will not allow the taps to run dry. We are not going to leave our residents dry,” he said. The ANC rejected a R95 million adjusted budget for the drought crisis, along with other adjustment budgets debated. With the exception of the ACDP and EFF, the opposition ANC taunted and heckled as they tried to expose the failures of Premier Helen Zille’s office and the provincial government she runs. Richard Dyantyi, ANC MPL, said the money budgeted for the drought and upcoming fire season was way too little. “From a total budget of R55 billion you can only get about R100 million. That is scandalous. How can this amount of money ever be enough. The DA has been fiddling while Rome is burning, while the City is on the brink of collapse,” he said. Dyantyi also questioned how realistic the water supply targets of an extra 200 megalitres were when the desalination plants the City is constructing at the V&A Waterfront add 2 megalitres a day. “The only target in the City’s resilience plan which seems like an effort to add sufficient water into the system are the marine-based desalination plants at Table Bay Harbour and Gordon’s Bay, which together will add 200 megalitres a day. The completion date is, however, unknown,” he said.
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