Two farming towns in the Eastern Cape might have their "day zero" sooner than Cape Town. The only dam supplying the area is at a critical level‚ while the process of sinking boreholes is being hampered by a rocky and mountainous terrain. The severe drought in Hankey and Patensie in the Gamtoos Valley prompted the Kouga municipality to introduce strict water rationing in August 2017. Executive mayor Elza van Lingen told GroundUp on Wednesday that day zero — when the municipality would no longer be able to provide water through the taps — was mid-March. "I cannot give an exact date, but according to our estimates‚ if we cannot receive good rains now in our catchment area‚ then by mid-March we will have day zero." According to a 2016 Stats SA survey, Hankey had a population of about 12‚000 people‚ and Patensie 5‚500. A further 40‚000 people are estimated to live in the surrounding rural and farming communities. The main economic driver of the towns is agriculture; citrus‚ vegetables‚ w...

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