Cool weather stabilises dam levels

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Intermittent thundershowers in parts of South Africa have stabilised dam levels and managed to keep them at a national average of 62.5%.

The cool weather has resulted in the country’s combined 323 20.8 cubic metres of water in its reservoirs. Most dams are expected to rise when more rains come down towards the end of the week.

A weekly report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation on Wednesday shows that the dams have been fairly stable in the past seven days.

“A combination of lower temperatures and the consistency of the rain has brought the sliding dam levels under control. The reduction of Gauteng’s hot temperatures is believed to have played an important role in the rise of dam levels, with reduced rates of evaporation,” the department said.

According to the report, Gauteng, where the rainfall has been consistent since last weekend, has increased its levels from 92.8 to 94.4%, followed by Free State and Mpumalanga at 70.3% and 68.8%, respectively.

Eastern Cape has also experienced an increase of 2% from 56% to 58% this week.

Although Makhanda in the Eastern Cape was faced with the worst water crisis ever after the local river dropped its level to a mere 6% two weeks ago, the report noted that scattered thundershowers have improved the situation slightly as the dam levels improved to 8.1% this week.

The department has formed a partnership with the local municipality and Eastern Cape Provincial Government to alleviate the effect of water shortage in Makhanda.

The three spheres of government have embarked on a concerted water saving campaign to ask locals to use water sparingly and reduce water losses.

In Limpopo, the average dam levels are at 59.8%, a slight decrease compared to last week when they recorded 60.2%.  

A weekly summary of Water Management Area (WMA) for Limpopo reflects a serious decline in dam levels compared to last year this time when water levels were at 69.6%.

Consistent rains in KwaZulu-Natal are expected to raise provincial dam levels from the current 75.6%.

KZN towns might experience drought

While the Klipfontein Dam in White Umfolozi has reached a 103% capacity following a week-long rains that fell in the area, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Mncube on Tuesday expressed fears that several towns in the province might experience drought in the next two months, unless there’s heavy downpours soon.

Some parts of the Northern Cape are beginning to experience dry conditions and exceedingly high temperatures, even though the province has recorded 66.3%.

WC remains a source of concern

Meanwhile, the department said the Western Cape remains a source of concern as its dams keep sliding week-on-week. The provincial dams has dropped from 52.9% to 51.4% this week.

“The province officially entered its dry season at the end of 2018 as it is a winter rainfall area. Alarmed by the depleted levels, the municipalities in the province are expected to soon announce drastic measures, including stringent water restrictions to reduce water consumption,” the department said.

The good news is that Voelvlei, Misverstand and the Berg River dams which supply the City of Cape Town have recorded an average 70%. Misverstand Dam stood at 102.1%, Berg River is at 81% with Voelvlei at 73.2%.

The department has appealed to citizens to save water earnestly, as the country approaches a dry winter season. –