21 December 2022
Communities urged to exercise extra care amid heavy thunderstorms, while the country’s dam levels rise sharply.
For immediate Release
South Africans are urged to exercise extreme caution near places of water, as the country’s water levels rise high due to the recent heavy rainfalls experienced in most parts of the country.
In Gauteng province, the recent heavy thunderstorms have caused flash floods in Johannesburg, resulting in some people losing their lives.
The Departmental Spokesperson, Ms Wisane Mavasa has called on communities to be vigilant during this period of heavy rainfalls, particularly those residing in floodplains or close to the rivers, dams, or streams.
“We have recently witnessed severe flashfloods due to thunderstorms in Gauteng province. We therefore appeal to members of the community to be extremely careful, especially those who are residing close to places of water like dams, rivers, streams. This is also a jolly time of festive season when people will take their celebrations to near places of water to cool themselves and for enjoyment. We also appeal to those people to exercise extreme caution as we are experiencing rising water levels due to the heavy rainfalls”, said Ms Mavasa.
At the same time, this rainy season has boosted the water levels in the country’s dams which were on a steady decline in the past recent weeks.
The weekly report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation has indicated a sharp increase of the water levels in the reservoirs of the country to 94.6% this week, as compared to last week’s 91.6%. This is a huge improvement from last year’s 88.4% national average mark currently.
Most of the country’s Water Supply Systems have also steadily increased. The biggest System in the country, Integrated Vaal River System, which comprises of 14 dams with catchments in four provinces, namely Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, and North West, as well as the Kingdom of Lesotho through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, has increased from last week’s 99.5% to 102.3% this week. The IVRS is also critical as it includes the Vaal Dam which supplies water to Gauteng province.
Polokwane Water Supply System has also increased by 105.7% this week, compared to last week’s 104.7%.
Water Supply Systems in the Eastern Cape have also improved significantly. Butterworth Water Supply System is still at high levels with 100.3 this week, a slight improvement from last week’s 100.0%. Amathole Water Supply System has also risen sharply with 102.8% this week, compared to last week’s 98.9%.
It is only Algoa Water Supply System which is still at a very low level registering 15.8% this week.
Ms Mavasa further said some Water Supply Systems in the Eastern Cape are at their high levels but stagnant. Klipplaat Water Supply System which supplies the Sarah District Municipality is at its full capacity of 100.4%, an improvement from last week’s 100.2%.
Eastern Cape water levels have experienced a slight increase with the provincial water storage level at 77.6% this week, up from last week’s 76.8%.
Ms Mavasa continued to encourage the residents to use water sparingly, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay, which faces a serious challenge of the taps running dry due to dwindling water levels in the water supply system if there is no positive response from water users.
“Despite the figures showing an improvement in the Eastern Cape Province, it is known that the province is experiencing water supply challenges particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay. We continue to make an appeal to the community of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the surrounding areas to double their efforts to reduce their water usage and to save water”, said Ms Mavasa.
Other provinces that have increased sharply in their water levels this week include Free State from 98.7% to 103.1%, Limpopo from 86.3% to 87.0%, Mpumalanga from 94.5% to 96.4%, North West from 79.6% to 83.4%, Northern Cape from 95.6% to 107.0%, and KwaZulu-Natal from 82.6% to 84.9%.
Western Cape water levels have also increased significantly to 63.9% this week from last week’s 61.2%. The dam levels in the Western Cape were standing at 81.3% last year at this time, meaning there is a marked comparative decline. “Cape Town Water Supply System with dams supplying water to the City of Cape Town has also slightly decreased to 72.0% this week, compared to last week’s 72.3%,” Ms Mavasa further explained.
However, other provinces have seen an improvement in their water levels this week. Gauteng has slightly moved from 101.0% to 101.5%, but there is need to note that the province has smaller dams which fill up quicker and easier.
Water consumers are urged to continue using water sparingly, despite this reprieve provided by this rainfall season that resulted in high levels of water in the country.
Issued by the Department of Water & Sanitation
For more information, contact Wisane Mavasa, Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation on 060 561 8935.
For media releases, speeches and news visit the Water & Sanitation portal at: www.dws.gov.za