South Africa’s dam levels are declining, DWS warns

22nd July 2021 By: Creamer Media Reporter

A weekly report on the state of reservoirs in South Africa shows that overall water levels at dams across different provinces are continuing to decline week-on-week during the dry winter season, the Department of Water and Sanitation said.

The volume of water stored in the country’s reservoirs has declined from last week’s 83.3% to 82.8% this week.

While the Western Cape, owing to recent good rains, and the Northern Cape have seen a considerable increase in their water levels this week, other provinces are experiencing a marginal decline, DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

“The past rainfalls in the Western Cape have boosted the provincial water storage, which is now at 82.4% this week, an improvement from last week’s 79.4%. It is also a great improvement from last year’s water levels which stood at 65.3% during this time,” he noted.

The Cape Town Water Supply System, with dams supplying the City of Cape Town and surrounding areas, also improved, moving to 95.7% this week from the 93.2% reported last week.

The dams in the Northern Cape improved to 91% this week, compared with 87.2% last week, while the water levels in Gauteng have remained stable at 97.1%.

In the North West, water storage levels remain unchanged at 80.2% this week, with the three main dams at full capacity this week.

The Klipvoor and Bospoort dams are sitting at 100.7% and 100% respectively, while the Buffelspoort dam has slightly dropped from 100% last week to 99.9% this week.

Last year, the overall dam levels in the province stood at 69.6%.

Mpumalanga dam levels decreased from 84.1% last week to 83.6% this week.

The Westoe dam on the Usutu river decreased from 70.8% to 69.5% week-on-week, and the Nooitgedacht dam maintained its highest level with 94.9%, compared with 94.8% last week.

Vygeboom dam is also at its highest levels of 98%, a slight decline from last week’s 99%, while the Kwena dam dropped slightly from the 100% full capacity to 99.8% week-on-week. The Longmere dam also recorded a decline from 93.9% to 90.3% this week.

Meanwhile, water levels in Limpopo stabilised this week – despite a continuing decline on a weekly basis – standing at 84.1%, compared with 84.7% last week. The Flag Boshielo dam declined from last week’s 89.8% to 88.8% this week.

In the Mopani region, a critically low Middel-Letaba dam continued to decline to 8.8% compared with last week’s 9%. The Tzaneen dam has decreased to 97.5% this week from last week’s 98.9%, while the biggest dam in Limpopo, De Hoop, is at 97.6% this week, a minimal decrease from the 97.9% recorded last week.

While the water storage levels in the drought-stricken Eastern Cape continue to decline, the levels this week were stable at 50.5%. The Algoa Water Supply System, with dams supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan, is at a very low 10.1% this week.

The dam levels in the Free State declined from last week’s 95.5% to 94.8% this week. The Fika Patso dam, which supplies the residents of Phuthaditjhaba in QwaQwa, recorded a decline from 84.6% last week to 83.3% this week, while the Gariep dam levels contracted to 90.5% this week from 92% in the prior week.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial storage capacity decreased from 71.4% last week to 70.4% this week. The Albert Falls dam, which supplies water to the eThekwini metropolitan and surrounds, decreased from 53.3% to 52.9% week-on-week.