New freshwater supply in Western Cape

Discovery is good news for Western Cape as it battles water crisis.

A freshwater resource has been found in Beaufort West, about 460 km north-east of Cape Town, as the Western Cape battles an ongoing water crisis.

The "unprecedented" discovery brings "huge relief" to the drought-stricken region, according to South Africa's mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane. The ministry says that preliminary results indicate that the Beaufort West water is potable.

The find came after the mineral resources ministry ordered research into the development of shale gas extraction in the Karoo national park. Environmentalists have raised concerns that the project could lead to the government's eventual sanctioning of the controversial “fracking” mining method to extract the highly-valuable shale gas and methane.

The discovery of water in Beaufort West comes as Cape Town considers a water tax and constructs desalination plants in order to avoid a "Day Zero" worst-case scenario, in which residents could be left completely without water.