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Dam levels still on a decline despite recent rainfall warns DWS

Nov 21, 2019
Dam levels still on a decline despite recent rainfall warns DWS

Port ElizabethDam levels across the country remain on a steady decline despite the recent heavy downpours in some parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng in the previous two weeks.

A weekly dam levels report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) depicts a bleak reality that water levels are declining consistently week on week.

"The national water storage declined from last week’s 59.6% to 58.7% this week," described Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau.

"This is a far cry to 69.4% that was recorded during the same period last year."

Kwazulu Natal dam levels

Ratau said that the heavy rainfall in Kwa-Zulu Natal has contributed only 1% increase in dam levels.

"The provincial water storage increased from 52,3% last week to 53.0% this week."

Meanwhile, Limpopo residents are urged to intensify water saving measures as dams are emptying at an average of 48.2%.

"The dams are further down compared to 62% during the same period last year," Ratau said.

"Dams supplying water to Moutse have dried up. As a result, a meeting was convened on Sunday by officials from the Department in Limpopo, the National Rapid Response Technical Team (NRRTT), officials from the technical department in Sekhukhune District Municipality and senior officials from the municipality including the Executive Mayor to intervene.

"Recommendations that were made included equitable water tankering across Moutse urgently. To this end, a total of 10 000 litres water tanks will be supplied as a short term measure.

"In addition, a steering committee will be formed, and is set to comprise of the NRRTT, DWS in Limpopo, provincial COGTA, Sekhukhune District Municipality and Elias Motsoaledi Municipality to drive the immediate interventions that will help alleviate water scarcity in Moutse."

Eastern Cape dam levels

Ratau said that similarly, the drought-stricken Eastern Cape Province continues to bear the brunt of drought.

"This is amid official announcements by the Provincial Government declaring the situation in the province a disaster. The average dam levels have remained at 48,8% compared to 62.1% during the same period last year," he described.

"On Tuesday, the Joe Gqabi District Municipality issued an update on critical water supply measures put in place. The Municipality reported that five boreholes are being drilled in the Burgersdorp areas to ensure water supply.

"In addition, strict water restrictions are put in place in Mount Fletcher."

Ratau on Tuesday emphasised that despite the rains experienced in some parts of the Eastern Cape Province over the weekend, drought is still a reality.

"The weekly status of reservoirs report released by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) this week shows that the dam levels are sitting at 48.8%, depicting no improvement from last week," he said.

"However, in other parts of the province such as Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman District Municipality, dams improved from their previous positions. Loerie Dam improved from 44.9% last week to 58.4% this week, a huge gain of 13.5%.

"Krom Dam also improved from 86.3% to 100.6%, and Kouga Dam improved little bit from 33.2% last week to 33.9% this week. Graaft- Reinet in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality is badly affected by drought and Nqweba Dam does not have water for attraction."

Ratau said that the DWS made several interventions in a form of distributing water tanks to the affected areas.

"There are also plans to access groundwater, through the Departmental funds of Water Service Infrastructure Grants (WSIG) and Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG)," Ratau said.

"Sandile Dam in the Amathole District Municipality did not receive much water during the past showers of rain. This week it is sitting at 30.4%, compared to 31.7% last week.

"Sandile Dam serves the Kieskamma Catchment and supplies water to the drought stricken area of Peddie. Nahoon dam also experienced a decline from 55.2% last week to 53.0% this week.

"Bridle Drift Dam remains below 40% even this week. The whole province is still reeling from the impact of drought, but DWS is vigorously engaging with municipalities through the Joint Operations Committee to mitigate the impact."

Gauteng dam levels

In Gauteng, due to the average rainfalls, dam levels have improved almost drastically from 85,3% to 90,6% this week.

"At the same time last year, the provincial dam levels were at 96,4%," Ratau said.

"However, this week the Vaal Dam has seen a significant decline from 46.2% last week to 42.6% this week."

Other provinces also experiencing drought

"Provinces also experiencing a decline in water levels include the Free State at 68,0% from last week’s 70,0%. Mpumalanga water storage capacity have decreased from last week’s 56,3% to 55,9% this week. While the Northern Cape sees a drop of 1% at 71,5% from 72,1%," Ratau said.

"Western Cape declined slightly from 66.5% last week to 66.3% this week. North West is at 51,6% from 50,4% last week.

"Above-average rainfall is predicted by Departmental scientists and South African Weather Service between December and February 2020 across the country.

"The Department encourages residents to harvest rain for re-use purposes."

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