17 August 2017

South Africa: Gauteng Dams Continue to Decline

Photo: The Herald
(file photo).

Gauteng dam levels continue to decline this week, showing a decrease on the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) from 79.7% to 79.3%.

The IVRS is composed of 14 dams supplying the economic heartland of Gauteng as well as Sasol and Eskom.

The Vaal Dam decreased by 0.9% to 91.5% this week from 92.4% last week. Compared to the previous year during the same period, the dam was at 34.7%, fuelling concerns of taps running dry in the province.

Katse Dam in Lesotho, which is critical for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, shrunk from 31.5% last week to 30.2% this week. During the corresponding period last year the dam was at 47.3%.

Maintaining last week's levels, the Bloemhof is at a consistent 99.1%. In the previous year during the same period, the dam was well below the neutral 50% mark at 25%.

Grootdraai Dam dropped by 0.6% to 82.7% this week. Last week, it was sitting at a decent 83.3%, while last year during the same time, it was sitting at 78.2%.

Going up to slightly higher levels this week, Sterkfontein Dam is currently at 92.0%. Last week, the dam was at 91.6% and last year during the corresponding period, it was at 89.5%.

Last year, Sterkfontein, which is situated in the Free State and is the reserve dam for the IVRS, provided the expected lifeline to the then depleting IVRS, ultimately benefitting the crucial Vaal Dam to stave off a potentially serious lack of water in Gauteng.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has urged consumers to control water usage, as chances of rainfall remain diminished as the end of the winter season approaches.

"Moreover, Gauteng receives much of its share of water from provinces that are still recovering from the gripping drought and thus consumers are urged to continue using the resource sparingly," the department said.

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