The Department of Water and Sanitation has called on water consumers to intensify their water conservation efforts to save the country from a dry winter. The department said that South Africa's dam levels continued to drop, despite thundershowers in some parts of the country.
A weekly dam levels report released by the department this week, paints a gloomy picture about the state of water since the beginning of the heat wave two months ago. The report showed a drop in national water average from 63.6% last week to 62.9% this week.
The Western Cape seems to be on the receiving end of the stick as the provincial dam levels are reportedly half-full at 47.9%. The water level in Theewaterskloof Dam, one of the main arteries to the City of Cape Town, has decreased from 47.4% to 46.3%, with Clanwilliam Dam also decreased from 57.6% to 54% .
The department said that Capetonians will have to rely on Voelsvlei for water after the dam recorded 75.4%.
In the North West Province, water levels increased by a mere fraction from 57.5% to 57.7%. Water levels at Potchefstroom Dam has also decreased from 94.5% to 88.5%, while Boskop Dam decreased to 64.6%, with Taung Dam dropping from 82.8% last week to 82.3%.
Despite some rains in KwaZulu-Natal, Umgeni System, which comprises Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda dams, dropped to 59.2%. Midmar Dam in Natal Midlands also decreased from 93.6% to 93.3%. Inanda Dam, one of the water resources that supply eThekwini, dropped slightly from 61.6% to 61.1% this week.
Eastern Cape dams are also on the slide as they decreased from 57.4% to 56% this week.
Makhanda Dam almost dried up
The department said it was particularly concerned about Makhanda Dam in Makhanda, which has almost dried up.
“This has led to fears that the area may be without water by mid-February. However, the Department of Water and Sanitation has partnered with the Makhanda Municipality and the provincial government to obviate a total disaster,” the department said.
However, it is not all that gloomy in other parts of the province as Nahoon Dam increased from 67.6% to 68.1%, while Bridle Drift increased from 44.3% to 48.9%.
The Algoa Water Supply System decreased from 50.0% to 48.9%. Kouga decreased from 49.7% to 48.6%. Loerie increased from 39.2% to 39.4% and Impofu decreased from 33.7% to 32.2%.
In Gauteng, the Vaal Dam has decreased from 74.1% recorded last week to 73.1%. The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) has also decreased from 69.2% to 68.8%. In the same time last year, water levels in IVRS were at 72.3%.
Although the Free State dams have also decreased to 71.5% this week, the good news is that the province has recorded higher levels compared to the same period last year when it was 64.1%.
The Northern Cape dams recorded 68.8%, despite extremely dry conditions experienced by the province. Boegoeberg Dam increased from 93.9% to 107.3%.
In Limpopo, the water levels decreased from 60.2% last week to 59.8% this week. The levels are lower than the same period last year when they were at 65.4%.
Magoebaskloof Dam in Tzaneen increased from 100.3% to 100.6%. Hans Merensky Dam in Phalaborwa has also increased from 100.4% to 101.6%, whilst Flag Boshielo in Polokwane decreased from 77.4% to 76.7%.
In Mpumalanga, dam levels have increased slightly from 67.6% to 67.8%, a drop by 9% compared to the same period last year. Witbank Dam remains at 88.3%, Loskop decreased from 83.0% to 82.7%, while Rhenosterkop increased from 1.9% to 2.8%.