The provincial storage of water levels in Eastern Cape saw a marginal increase for the first time in many months due to the rains that fell in some part of the province in the last week. While this is welcome, the water challenges in the province are far from over and water users are urged to be circumspect in the manner in which they consume water.
According to a weekly dam levels report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation, the provincial water storage in the province remains at a low of 48.8% this week, slightly up from 48.7% last week. This meagre increase is nothing to be celebrated considering that during this period last year, the water levels were at 52.6%.
The most hit area in the province is the Amathole District which includes Butterworth, with Xilinxa Dam virtually empty and Bridle Drift Dam at a low of 38.9%. However, the Department has dispatched 11 water tankers (trucks) in Butterworth and surrounding areas to ease the water challenges. In addition to this, 23 boreholes have also been drilled to increase water delivery in Mnquma Local Municipality. 3 of them have been equipped and are producing good quality water for human consumption. The Department will also raise the wall of the Gcuwa weir to increase the capacity of the weir for more water storage. The project will cost R80million and is scheduled to take 18 months to complete.
Other dams that remain in a paltry state include Sandile Dam 43.3% and Nahoon Dam remain at a low of 40.0% this week.
Nelson Mandela Bay dams have also slightly improved from last week, with the Algoa Water Supply System with dams supplying water to the Metro increasing from 18.5% last week to 20.1% this week. The system has struggled to recover overtime, as it was at 37.2% during this period last year.
Some dams in the Algoa Water Supply System such as Kouga Dam increased to 9.0% this week, compared to 8.1% last week, Loerie Dam went up from 34.6% last week to 44.8% this week, and Impofu Dam increased from18.6% last week to 18.9% this week.
Kliplaat Water Supply System with dams supplying the area of Queenstown declined further to 34.2 this week from 34.9 last week. Macubeni Dam declined from 79.9% last week to 79.1% this week, Xonxa Dam dropped from 94.7% last week to 93.7% this week and Tsojana Dam remains at 92.2%.
The Amathole Water Supply System with dams supplying water to Buffalo City and surrounding areas remains a concern at 35.7%, a far cry from 49.7% it was at during the same period last year.
The DWS is pleading to the communities to use water sparingly, report water leaks to their local municipality and immediately fix water leaks in their households to prevent water losses during this time.