Neels Blom Writer at large

The water and sanitation department is alarmed about a sharp drop of 4.8 percentage points from 73.2% to 68.4% in the average level of SA’s dams over the past month. It has renewed its call for water users to conserve as much water as possible. The greatest concern was for water supply in North West, where dam levels had fallen to 53.4% from 72% during the same period last year, the department said on Wednesday. SA’s rainfall over the past three months has been below average and the heatwave prevailing in the hinterland has increased evaporation and water consumption, says the department. Hydrologists are concerned that if the trend continues unabated, the government may be forced to re-introduce stringent water restrictions. A recent workshop by hydrologists at the department predicted below-normal rainfall over the next three months. Dry conditions that lead to drought in Southern African are usually caused by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, in which oceanic warming of the Pacif...

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