Water Wednesday: Water restrictions across SA are still in place despite dam levels improving

The Department of Water and Sanitation published a report that painted a stable picture of the water situation around the country but has emphasised that South Africa is not out of the woods just yet.

Recent rains around the country have given a glimmer of hope that the days of the water crisis might soon be over even though it is too early to consider lifting water restrictions. Gauteng takes the top spot with dam levels almost at full capacity at 99.7%. The figures indicate a great improvement from 2017 where levels were recorded at 90.2%. The Vaal Dam is among the water resources that has recorded the highest levels in the country at 97.6%. It is important to have the Vaal Dam at full capacity because it services Gauteng, the economic hub of the country. The dam has improved by three percent since last year.

In the Western Cape, the heavy downpours of the winter season have resulted in dam levels going up to 50.1% compared to 25.7% during the same period last year. Levels at the Theewaterskloof Dam, which services Cape Town, have almost doubled to 41.3% compared to 20.5 a year ago. Despite the good rains, the department will only review the current water restrictions when dams reach 85% capacity.

The Cape Town dam system with six dams serving the Cape Town metro has increased from 54.8% to 56.1% with more rain predicted in the region over this winter period.

The Eastern Cape came out as the worst performing province with the lowest dam levels at 62.9%. The Algoa System with five dams servicing Nelson Mandela Bay decreased from 19.7% to 18.9%. Last year the system stood at 32.9%. Worse still, Kouga Dam has decreased from 7.4% to 7.2% in the past week. Groendal decreased from 40.1% to 39.7%. Katrivier improved by one percent this past week while Macubeni sits at 97.2%. The Amathole system which has six dams that serve East London decreased from 90.1% to 89.9%.

In the North West, Haartebeespoort Dam improved from 66.9% to 97.3% this week. Sehujwane is at 85.1%.

In KwaZulu-Natal dam levels decreased from 64.2% to 63.8% compared to last week. Umgeni Dam System which boasts five dams that serve eThekwini and Msunduzi in Pietermaritzburg decreased from 75.4% to 74.8%. The system was at 60.3% in the same period last year.

Northern Cape improved from 87.2% to 93.1% this week. Boegoeberg Dam increased from 91.3% to 99.6%.

In Limpopo, the average dam levels decreased from 72.6% to 72.1%. Polokwane Water Systems decreased almost by three percent in the past week to 91.5%.

In Mpumalanga, the average dam levels decreased from 79.9% to 79.5%. However, the figure represents a 3% increase compared to the same period last year.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has reminded water users to continue adhering to water restrictions imposed by their respective municipalities.

Here is this week’s dam update:

  • The Vaal River System consisting of 14 dams serving mainly Gauteng Sasol and Eskom is at 99.6%.
  • The Cape Town Dams System consisting of six dams serving mainly City of Cape Town this week is at 50.6%.
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Dam System is at 63.4% this week while Eastern Cape Dam System sits at 62.5%.

Here are the latest dam percentages throughout the country:

For a more in-depth rainfall update, visit WeatherSA or click here. For more information on the water storage levels across the country, visit the DWS site. For a comprehensive drought status report from the Department of Water and Sanitation, click here.


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