Drought in South Africa affects town's drinking water

By: 
Associated Press

Residents of a South African coastal town say their drinking water "tastes like the sea" as a worsening drought affects fresh water sources, according to a local newspaper.

Citizens of Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal province lined up with buckets for fresh water distributed by officials as one of the driest periods in 50 years increased the salt content of rivers, reported the South Coast Herald newspaper. Elsewhere in the province the levels of dams have dipped to about a third of capacity, according to South Africa's ministry of water and sanitation.

An estimated 2.7 million households, about 18 percent of the population, are affected by the drought, according to the ministry of water and sanitation.

The ministry declared the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces as disaster areas and warned that rural communities in two more provinces face water shortages. South Africa's capital, Pretoria, also implemented water restrictions.

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