Water restrictions remain even though dams are filling up
All except the country’s struggling dams in the Cape provinces are on the path to recovery, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said on Monday.
"Over the past week…we have been on the upward trend," said department spokesman Sputnik Ratau, adding that the latest dam level figures were being finalised and would be released on Tuesday.
"The only places that were struggling were the three Capes – Northern Cape‚ Eastern Cape and Western Cape. On the national average‚ we have been going up‚" he said.
"Our national average is now almost 50%. This means‚ when you look at the national dam levels together‚ you would get that percentage of capacity. It was 49.3% on Monday last week.
"Obviously, because the rains have fallen over the last couple of days, and also looking at the fact that the Vaal Dam is receiving water from Katse Dam in Lesotho as well as Sterkfontein Dam from the Free State‚ that has created a change in the kind of figures."
In August‚ the DWS issued a government gazette compelling municipalities to reduce consumption by 15%. Most municipalities have struggled to reach this target and some have been forced to restrict water supply in certain areas at times to prevent their reservoirs from running dry.
While Gauteng has had rainy days in the past week‚ a heat wave this week could push up the demand for water.
Ratau said it was difficult for the department to speculate how long the restrictions on municipalities would last. He said the release of water from Sterkfontein Dam was expected to continue until December, by which time it was hoped the Vaal Dam would have sufficiently recovered.
"Restrictions must not be looked at as punitive measures. They are meant to assist us to be able to make sure that going forward we continue to have sufficient water‚" Ratau said.