(Patensie) – STARTING July more than 200 citrus, vegetable and dairy farms in the Gamtoos River Valley that rely on water from the Kouga Dam will have their annual water allocation for 2017/18 slashed by 60%, the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) has announced.
The decision to allocate farmers just 40% of their annual water allocation, taken by the Department of Water Affairs, comes as the dam reaches 18.6% capacity – a level last witnessed in late 1991. It sank to the 9% mark in early 1992, after which that drought was finally broken.
According to GIB officials, just 2mm of rain fell in the Kouga Dam’s catchment area from April to June this year.
“We met with the department yesterday [June 29] and the GIB met this morning to discuss the allocation cuts,” said GIB chairman Tertius Meyer. “On the one side there is slight relief, as we expected a bigger cut than 60%. There is, however, also concern, as there is only 18% of water left in the dam.
“The hope is that, according to the allocation cuts and long-range weather forecasts, that the dam will hold more water this time next year.”
Meyer said the water allocation was usually