Persistent rains across South Africa have started increasing the country’s dam levels, which rose by 1% week-on-week, according to the most recent weekly report by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
The report states that the average national level is currently 60.2%, a slight improvement from last week’s 59.2%.
Despite the improvement, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu renewed her call to all South Africans to continue saving water, warning that the country “is not out of the woods yet”, and that some provinces were still in the grip of severe drought.
The Eastern Cape and parts of the Northern Cape are among the worst affected provinces.
Sisulu recently announced R300-million in government funding to mitigate the effects of the drought in the Northern Cape, where the provincial government has declared the situation a “provincial disaster”.
However, recently, provinces such as Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have received consistent rainfalls, which have slightly improved these areas’ water situation.
Gauteng’s dam levels have increased to 101.2%, followed by Northern Cape and Mpumalanga at 77.5% and 73.3%, respectively.
Hydrologically, Gauteng and the Northern Cape have fewer and smaller dams that fill up quickly by the slightest rains, the DWS said.
The Free State, which received hammering rains recently, has had its dam levels increasing from 65.6% to 67.7% this week. The province boasts some of the biggest dams in the country, including the Gariep and Vanderkloof dams.
Limpopo has further also seen an improvement in its water situation with dam levels rising from just below 50% two months ago, to 58.5% this week.
According to the report, three of the province’s dams – Magoebaskloof, Flag Boshielo and Tonteldoos – are “bursting at the seams” following relentless rains last week.
The situation, however, still remains dire in the Mopani district, where the Tzaneen and Middel-Letaba dams remain stagnant at only 4.6% and 2.5% of capacity.
The torrential rains also made a huge difference in Mpumalanga, where dam levels have risen by 11% from 60.2% to 71.3% this week.
Nooitgedacht dam, in Nkomati, rose to 100.7%, while Vygeboom shot up by 12% to 102%. The Inyaka dam, in Bushbuckridge, and Westoe, in the Usutu region, recorded levels of 46.5% and 42.7%, respectively.
As a result of consistent rains, the province now has 1 809.2 m3 of water in storage.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal is also experiencing a steady rise in its dam levels, with the province’s dams rising from 53.4% last week to 54.3% this week.
The Driel Barrage and Hluhluwe dams on the North Coast were at 100.3% and 101.4%, respectively.
The good level of rains has also increased dam levels in North West from 56.3% to 61% this week. Owing to this, four dams – Swartruggens, Middelkraal, Bospoort and Klipvoor – are full to capacity.
However, the Klein Marico dam recorded the lowest level at 7.1%.
This is because of the poor rainfall that occurred in the region between Zeerust and Groot Marico, the DWS said.
With the Western Cape having entered its dry hydrological season, dam levels have dropped to 60.5% in the province. After having recovered from the worst drought in 100 years, the province now has 996 m3 of water stored in its reservoirs for use during the dry season.
The storage figure indicates a 3% improvement compared with the corresponding period last year, the statement said.