South Africa 9.3.2017 05:41 am

Western Cape still in the red despite rising national dam levels

The department also said a notice lifting the water restrictions would be gazetted on Thursday after the Vaal dam exceeded the 100% mark.

As of Monday, the country’s national average dam levels stood at 73.9%, according to the department of water and sanitation.

This time last week, the levels were at 71.6% and according to spokesperson for the department, Sputnik Ratau, the increase is welcome news.

“We are hoping that we will continue to receive more rainfall so that our dam levels can continue to rise,” he said.

Contrary to what had been experienced in recent weeks, the South African Weather Service early this week said residents in most parts of the country could expect fewer chances of rain.

Several parts of the country, including Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Free State have been receiving “above normal” rainfall in recent weeks and the weather desk recently said prognosis was that more similar patterns could still be expected before the winter season arrives.

Due to the dry and hot conditions that were experienced during the better part of last year, several municipalities, including in Gauteng, implemented water restrictions which, among others, prohibited residents from making use of hosepipes to wash their cars and paving areas, as well as watering gardens from 6am and 6pm.

With the Vaal Dam, which supplies water mainly to Gauteng, already having exceeded the 100% mark, Ratau said a notice lifting the ban would be gazetted on Thursday, but he again urged residents to continue saving water.

While the drought situation in many parts of the country has been improving since the beginning of this year, the situation in the Western Cape remains dire.

According to Ratau, the dam levels there are at 32%.

“However, we are happy that the levels are no longer dropping by averages of 2% and we hope that this continues as we approach the coming winter,” Ratau said. The Western Cape is a winter rainfall region.

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