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Gift of the Givers opens boreholes in NMB to ease water crisis

Home Business Management Disaster Management Gift of the Givers opens boreholes in NMB to ease water crisis

THE Gift of the Givers opened its seventh borehole yesterday as part of its efforts to get 30 boreholes in place to ensure that key community institutions have access to water.

Located at the Elizabeth Donkin Psychiatric Hospital in Forest Hill, the Gift of the Givers successfully drilled the borehole as part its city-wide water augmentation programme to curb the drought crisis and looming Day Zero, and to avert a humanitarian crisis. This will provide much-needed relief to local communities, but more importantly, access to water for clinics, police stations, schools and hospitals.

Since their arrival in the Nelson Mandela Bay, the humanitarian organisation has drilled six boreholes, and has been focusing on disadvantaged areas in the ‘red zone’, which is at imminent risk of running out of water. They will also be installing water tanks at these sites to be serviced by municipal water trucks, so residents can collect water at any time without queuing or waiting for a water truck to arrive.

Water tanks will be placed in secure locations at schools, clinics, hospitals and police stations to serve surrounding communities.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman CEO and founder of Gift of the Givers says the borehole, which will have a yield of 14000 litres per hour, demonstrate the power of partnerships.

“The borehole is at a very strategic site in the red zone, on a very good geological rock formation and close to the airport. Dealing with the challenges of water shedding and shutdown in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and Kouga Municipality, which have also requested assistance from the foundation, can only be done with co-operation from the entire region.

“Companies and individuals are requested to make borehole water available to staff and neighbours, and those who can afford to install boreholes should consider the option with a view to sharing water.

“Leak repairs in the community and at schools by business is gaining traction. Community members must look out for leaks in toilet cisterns, taps and in the home environment and repair immediately as every litre saved today means water for tomorrow in a region where minimal rain is predicted into September.

“Gift of the Givers thanks the city and its citizens for their incredible co-operation, support, and for standing together and holding hands in a spirit of nation building. There is no place for politics or ego.  We are in a state of disaster and co-operation, humanity, compassion and unconditional service is in the interest of all our citizens,” says Dr Sooliman.

Gift of the Givers has also drilled two boreholes at Alpha Primary School, one each at Malabar Primary School, Arcadia Primary School and Rufane Primary School and Jose Pearson TB Hospital. Boreholes were drilled previously at Fontein Primary School, Republiek Primary School and Helenvale Primary School.

These boreholes will be modified to allow for water spread to communities in the vicinity. In addition, the foundation has resuscitated a borehole at Gelvandale Stadium and at the K9 unit in Forest Hill. Their teams, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, have visited several disused boreholes with a view to resuscitate those in strategic areas immediately.

“Water augmentation will continue with a generous donation of 500 000 litres per day from the desalination plant at Cerebos to Gift of the Givers. Coca Cola has given us the first of three 35000 litre tankers for the process. The second one arrives tomorrow.”

The organisation has met with engineers from the municipality to map out progress and further decisive interventions, which include getting the list of areas where JoJo tanks have to be placed for most practical access in water deprived communities.

Bottled water deliveries by our teams to homes for the elderly, physically and mentally challenged have commenced.

“We would appreciate communities pointing out springs where there is water run-off in the thousands of litres per day, and we would also appreciate notification of disused boreholes at institutions or communities and will assess viability,” says Dr Sooliman.

Business Chamber chief executive Denise van Huyssteen says the official opening of the borehole was testament to what can be achieved through strong collaboration. “As a business community we have forged a strong partnership with Gift of the Givers to ensure that our efforts are complementary and result in targeted actions, which put the best interests of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay first. We are immensely grateful to Gift of the Givers for the way they have responded to the water crisis. They have moved with urgency and purpose to get emergency measures in place.”

Van Huyssteen says the Chamber’s key water crisis interventions, which include Adopt A School and Adopt A Leak, and various humanitarian initiatives, provide a platform for businesses to help mitigate risks associated with the water crisis and are being implemented in partnership with Gift of the Givers. They aim to reduce the extent of water losses, while at the same time ensuring that communities have access to water.

“It is critical for all stakeholders in the metro such as residents and businesses to pull together to reduce the severity of the water crisis. In tandem with the focus on reducing water losses, consumption levels also need to be addressed. Our water consumption is way above the targeted limit and consumers must immediately reduce their consumption levels. In tandem with this, they must also implement water saving solutions such as rainwater tanks and identify water leaks on their premises and report them immediately for remedial action,” says Van Huyssteen.

Businesses willing to volunteer expertise and resources, or contribute to the Water Crisis Fund, can contact the Business Chamber on 041 373 1122 or email taskteams@nmbbusinesschamber.co.za

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