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'We live in fear': Facing dry times, rural South Africans rethink water

'We live in fear': Facing dry times, rural South Africans rethink water

At the height of the 2015 drought that parched South Africa's eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, Julie Mkhize had to pull carcasses of dead cows from the dried riverbed near her village, after the desperate animals perished seeking water.

Soon people in her rural community were collapsing as well from dehydration, with 10 dying from drought-related illnesses as drinking water ran short, Mkhize said.

In the years since, the village has seen water flows recover. But this year they are beginning to shrink again, producing deep-seated fear in KwaMusi, a village of 4,000 more than two hours' drive northwest of Richard's Bay.

"Cows, donkeys, goats, children, farmers and families are all competing for the same water," said Mkhize, 63, a small-scale vegetable farmer, sitting in the shade of a community produce-packing shelter.

"We live in fear of the drought, every day."

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