JOHANNESBURG – South African media report that residents of a coastal town say their drinking water "tastes like the sea" as a worsening drought affects fresh water sources.
The South Coast Herald newspaper reported that residents 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. The level of dams dipped to about a third of capacity.
According to South Africa's ministry of water and sanitation, 2.7 million people, about 18 percent of the population, are affected by drought.
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.