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Dam levels decline in most provinces

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The national storage of 211 dams has decreased slightly by 0.3% to 72.9% compared to 73.2 last week, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation weekly dam report.

The department said in a statement on Friday that around the same time last year, the national storage was at 54.6%.

“There has been a slight decrease in capacity in all provinces (with the exception on Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West where there has been no change).

“The current condition of dams is quite worrying as we are moving out of the period for summer rains and at this stage all water from the summer rains will be in our reservoirs and we will see a gradual fall off of flows in our rivers.

“The Winter rainfall are also of great concern as we have not yet had any significant rain to relieve pressure on the dams in the winter rainfall area,” the department said.

The provincial levels compared to the previous week -- Eastern Cape (down 0.3% to 62.2%), Free State (down 0.1% to 85.6%), Gauteng (down 0.3% to 92.2%), KwaZulu-Natal (down 1.2% to 52.8%), Limpopo (steady at 78.6%), Mpumalanga (steady at 79.2%), Northern Cape (down 0.1% to 98.3%), North West (steady at 90.5%), Western Cape (down 0.8% to 21.4%).

Algoa System

Five dams serving Nelson Mandela Bay: this week a decrease of 0.7% to 41.4%. The department said this system will require special focus as it is significantly lower than last year (80.2%) and has not benefitted from the recent rain. “There is a need to intensify efforts to meet current restrictions to ensure that the system does not fail.”

Amathole System

Six dams serving Buffalo City: this week a decrease of 0.6% to 71.4%. The department said the dams are significantly lower than last year (89, 3%) and may have to consider restrictions, this will be determined when the systems analysis is done during May.

Bloemfontein System

Four dams serving mainly Mangaung. The department said this week the system is up by 0.7% to 51.2%. 

“Restrictions are still in place. Despite this system being in a better condition than last year (31. 9%) restrictions must be maintained,” the department said.

Cape Town Dams System

Six dams serving mainly City of Cape Town: this week decreased by 0.6% to 22.9%%.  The system was at 30.6% at the same time last year. The Voelvlei dam is down 1.0% to 19.7%. The Berg River Dam down 0.3% to 31.9%. The Theewaterskloof is down by 0.9% to 17.5%. The department said the restrictions for domestic use are at 20% and for agriculture 30% in place.

Crocodile West system

Six dams serving mainly Tshwane, Madibeng and Rustenberg slight increase of 0.5% to 99.7%. At the same time last year the system was at 95.1%.

The Vaal River System

Fourteen dams serving mainly Gauteng Sasol and Eskom has decreased by 0.8% to 84.1%. Katse dam is down 0.8 % to 49.1%. Vaal Dam is down 0.7% to 103.2%. The Sterkfontein Dam steady 89.7%. The Grootdraai Dam is down to 95.1%. Bloemhof increased by 0.2% to 101.4%.

Umgeni Dam system

Five dams serving mainly eThekwini and Msunduze. This week the system is steady at 62.7%. System was at 55% last year. Hazelmere is down to 104.4%. Albert Falls down 0.4% to 35.7%. Midmar dam an increase of 0.2% to 77.9%. The department said the restrictions of 15% for domestic, 50% for irrigation and 15% for industry are in place. 

Other KZN dams which are on the watch list are Klipfontein steady at 67%; Hluhluwe down 0.4% at 35.8% and Goedertrouw down 0.2% to 30%; Pongolapoort down 0.1% to 40.9%. The department said the coastal rains have not benefitted these dams and it requires a high level of vigilance with regard to implementation of restrictions. 

Orange River -- The Gariep dam down by 0.4% to 92.5% and Van Der Kloof Dam up 1.0% to 63.8%.

The department has urged water users to use water sparingly, particularly now as the country moves towards the winter season.

The South African Weather Service has predicted low chances of rain in recent weeks, meaning water levels could decline significantly. – SAnews.gov.za

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