Vaal Dam. Picture: THE SOWETAN
Vaal Dam. Picture: THE SOWETAN

Dam levels in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are improving‚ while those in the Western Cape decline‚ the Department of Water and Sanitation says.

"Most Gauteng dams are bursting at [the] seams‚ thanks to the incessant rains that fell over large parts of the province recently‚" the department said in its weekly report. The average level recorded in Gauteng after the rains stands at 101%‚ followed by the Free State and Mpumalanga at 92.2% and 81.7%, respectively

"However‚ if reports by the South African Weather Services are anything to go by‚ KwaZulu-Natal will soon occupy the top spot after the predicted heavy downpours expected in the province for the next two weeks. The current average dam level in KwaZulu-Natal 64.7%."

In early April‚ the department said the Umgeni Dam system in KwaZulu-Natal, with five dams serving eThekwini and Msunduzi in Pietermaritzburg, increased from 70.5% to 73.7%. The system was at 62.0% in the same period in 2017. Midmar Dam decreased from 101.1% to 100.5%‚ while Inanda had increased remarkably from 62.8% to 70.3%. This had led eThekwini Municipality to consider lifting water restrictions imposed due to the drought.

The department said this week that the national average dam level is 77.6%‚ an improvement of 2.3% compared with 2017. However‚ the drought-stricken Western Cape continues to decline week-on-week with the average dam level standing at 17.6%.

Voëlvlei‚ which supplies Cape Town‚ has dropped from 14.2% last week to 14.1%. The level of Berg River‚ which also supplies the Mother City‚ dropped from 43.4% to 41.1%.

"Clanwilliam Dam on the West Coast has dried up completely and the local municipality has resorted to water-tankering to supply local residents‚" the department said. "Unless mother nature intervenes in that province‚ affected municipalities are likely to impose tighter water restrictions soon."

Residents in Cape Town are already under severe strain after Level 6B water restrictions were imposed early in 2018. However, the department commented optimistically that "winter rains supposed to start at the end of April or first the week of May are expected to bring some relief to the citrus province".

The Eastern Cape recorded some improvement in some of its dam levels, with Macubeni in Cacadu registering 100% full. Other dams in the province that recorded full capacity were Sandile‚ Binfield‚ Mabeleni‚ Mthatha‚ Ntyenetyana‚ Belfort and Tsojana.

Dams in the North West are steady at an average of 72.9%, while Boegoeberg in the Free State recorded 116.7%‚ followed by Bon Accord with 107.2% and the Vaal (on the Free State side) with 106.7%.