The KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department has warned that despite the recent rainfall, which has been pouring in the province for the past few days, the prolonged drought remains severe.

MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said the province would need weeks and weeks of sustained rainfall to refill its fast declining water reservoirs to return to water levels considered safe and sustainable.

“We therefore urge the public not to become complacent amid the recent rain showers and continue to conserve water to ensure that the current reserves last longer,” said MEC Dube-Ncube.

The MEC reiterated that combatting the effects of drought is everybody’s business, adding that people can only ensure sufficient levels in their water reservoirs if they change their consumer behaviour into the future.

“KZN is facing droughts with increasing severity and frequency, unless our call for coordinated water conservation is met with decisive action by all consumers,” said MEC Dube-Ncube.

The department was instrumental behind the formal declaration of drought in the province as agricultural production dropped due to the prolonged drought last year.

The national government came to the province’s rescue with drought relief funding to the tune of close to R400 million. The funds have been transferred directly to the most affected municipalities in the province.

The department has invested significant resources into public drought awareness campaigns, calling for the public’s support for water rationing measures imposed by the most affected municipalities and voluntary water conservation.

The department has also appealed to municipalities to maximise their efforts to repair all reported water leaks and prevent future water losses.

“The recent rainfall may give the false impression that the worst of the current drought is over. The impact of the current drought has been so severe that all this rainfall is simply insufficient to relieve even the most urgent shortages of water in the most affected areas of the province. Our campaign to conserve water will therefore continue,” said MEC Dube-Ncube.