Rising temperatures impacting SA dam levels – water and sanitation dept

The department of water and sanitation has said rising spring temperatures are causing the country’s dam levels to continue to drop week-on-week, and the trend is expected to continue until the first summer rains come down at the end of October this year.

The department said since the beginning of August, temperatures have soared to an average 23 degrees Celcius in most provinces, causing water reservoirs to drop by a percentage due to evaporation.

According to the latest weekly report by the department, most dams have dropped marginally, but the water situation is fairly satisfactory with 21,713.4 cubic metres (60%) of volumes water stored in South Africa’s reservoirs.

The department said, however, that the total winter rains in Western Cape have increased the province’s dam levels to 68.9%, a 1% improvement from last week’s recordings.

“The province’s levels are expected to increase exponentially as more rains are expected to drench major parts of the province in the next few months before the end of a local hydrological wet season in November.”

The department said even though the Free State was among the provinces that are affected by evaporation, the province continues to store large volumes of water in Gariep, Vanderkloof and Sterkfontein dams.

“Sterkfontein retained its last week’s level of 94% while Gariep, the biggest in the country, recorded 64.9% and Vanderkloof remained stable at 85,8%.”

The department said the dams in Gauteng, which are smaller, also dropped marginally from 99.1% to 98.8% this week.

“Bronkhorstspruit Dam in eastern Pretoria also dropped 97% to 96.7%, while Bon Accord in Pretoria north rose marginally from 104.5% to 105.1%%. Roodeplaat and Rietvlei dams remained stable at 100.2% and 99.1% respectively.”

In the past week Northern Cape, also with a small number of dams, rose from 89.9% to 92.9% this week, the department.

It said KwaZulu-Natal reservoirs were stable at 58.5% with its coastal belt receiving sporadic rains.

“However, the inner parts of the province, especially Zululand and Umkhanyakude districts, remain dry due to lack of rain.”

The North West is holding out at 68.2%, having dropped from 68.8% last week, the department said.

“However, the districts of Madibeng, Bojanala and Tswaing continue to experience acute water shortages. DWS is working together with Madibeng Municipality to supply water with water tanks in Maboloka, Jericho, Mothutlung and parts of Letlhabile.”

The department said Mpumalanga and Limpopo occupy the middle of the table with regards to their water situation, with each province recording 70.2% and 62.6% respectively.

“At 99,5% Nandoni Dam continues to be a reliable source of water for Mopani District Municipality. An estimated 57 villages in Giyani rely almost exclusively on water that is piped from Nandoni Dam. The project is constructed and managed by the Construction Unit of DWS.”

The Eastern Cape is the only province whose dam levels are threatening to plunge below half as they teeter at 51.2%, the department said.

“The province has dropped its last week’s water volumes in its reservoirs from 932.7 cubic metres to 926.6 cubic metres this week.

“Against this background, the department is urging South Africans to continue saving water and there is no need to panic. The current state of water is normal during this time of the season and dam levels are generally expected to increase when rains begin to come down in earnest in the next few months.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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