South Africa 6.1.2017 05:00 pm

Dam levels still low despite rainfall

The SA Weather Service has predicted a reduced likelihood of chances of above-normal rainfall between January and April 2017 countrywide.

The department of water and sanitation has urged the public to continue saving water as dam levels remain largely unchanged, despite mid-summer rainfall.

The department said on Friday that the mid-summer rains in some parts of the country had not made any significant impact to get the average dam levels to desired levels.

The department urged members of the public to continue using water sparingly, despite a slight improvement in levels in some dams.

According to the department, the SA Weather Service has predicted that there was a reduced likelihood of chances of above-normal rainfall in the period between January and April 2017 across the country.

“This forecast is quite concerning with regard to the recovery of our dams. Unless there is a rapid and significant change to rainfall patterns there is still a long road to recovery and we face the possibility of a difficult winter,” said the department.

The Vaal River system, consisting of 14 dams and serving mainly Gauteng, as well as major users Sasol and Eskom, had increased by 0.8% to 54,8%. Although this was the eighth consecutive week that the system was above 50%, the system had recorded levels of 61.9% this time last year.

Lesotho’s Katse dam was at 38.7%, a decrease by 1% from the previous week. The Vaal Dam increased by 3.1% in the last two weeks to 44.4%, the Sterkfontein Dam was steady at 86.2% and the Grootdraai Dam was at 90.9%, an increase of 0.4%.

Water restrictions for both urban and rural use were still in place.

Provinces and cities that were below the 50% mark included the Free State which was at 49.6%, KwaZulu-Natal at 41.1% and the City of Cape Town at only 46%. Limpopo was just above the 50% mark with 50.8%.

The continued prediction of lower than normal rainfall by the South African Weather services could mean that the recovery rate would stretch beyond three years.

The department urged South Africans to use water wisely and adhere to water restrictions in order to avoid penalties and further restrictions being imposed.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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