South Africa: Water and Sanitation On Steady Decline of Water Levels

press release

The weekly state of reservoirs report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation indicates a steady decline of the water levels in the country's reservoirs to 94.6% this week, as compared to last week's 94.7%. The current readings of the national dam levels indicate a slight improvement as compared to last year's 97.0% at this time.

The provinces which have experienced a sharp decline in their dam levels this week include Eastern Cape from 78.5% to 76.6%, Limpopo from 87.2% to 86.3%, and Western Cape from 59.6% to 57.8%.

Other provinces' water levels are still at high satisfactory levels, but they are experiencing a drop. Gauteng has dropped from 101.5% to 100.6% this week. Northern Cape dropping from 100.0% to 99.0%, Mpumalanga dipping by 0.4% from 97.4% to 97.1%, while North West slightly dropped from 86.9% to 86.8% this week.

It is only two provinces which have experienced a marginal increase in their dam levels. Free State has slightly increased from 101.1% to 101.5% this week, while KwaZulu Natal increased from 91.4% to 91.6%.

Most of the country's Water Supply Systems are also on a high level but are experiencing a steady decline. The biggest System in the country, Integrated Vaal River System, which comprises of 14 dams with catchments in four provinces, namely Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, and North West, as well as the Kingdom of Lesotho through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, has slightly decreased from last week's 100.8% to 100.7% this week.

Polokwane Water Supply System has also seen a notable decline by 101.8% this week, compared to last week's 105.3%.

Water Supply Systems in the Eastern Cape have also decreased. Butterworth Water Supply System has slightly dropped with 100.2% this week, as compared to last week's 100.4%. Amathole Water Supply System has also declined sharply with 102.8% this week, compared to last week's 103.3%.

Algoa Water Supply System, is still at a very low level registering 14.8% this week, compared to last week's 14.9%. Meanwhile some Water Supply Systems in the province are still at high levels but are steadily declining. Klipplaat Water Supply System which supplies the Sarah District Municipality has slightly dropped from 100.5% 100.2% this week.

The Departmental Spokesperson, Ms Wisane Mavasa said the downward trend in storage levels is caused by the declining rainfall in most part of the country, increasing water demand and the recent high temperatures.

Since Eastern Cape water levels have experienced a slight decrease with the provincial water storage level, Ms Mavasa has made an appeal to water users in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, who face a serious water shortage due to dwindling water levels in the water supply system, to double their efforts to reduce water usage by sticking to water restrictions placed by the municipality.

"There is a continuous decline of the water levels in Eastern Cape Province, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay where there are water supply challenges due to continuous low levels of Algoa Water Supply System. We continue to make an appeal to the community of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the surrounding areas to double their efforts to reduce their water usage and to save water to ensure sustained water supply.

"The Department is also working to augment water supply through various interventions which includes water tankering to communities, and provision of boreholes jointly with private sector, while working on long term water security solutions", said Ms Mavasa.

Ms Mavasa has also raised a concern about the dwindling water levels in the Western Cape which are standing at 57.8% this week, a huge drop from last week's 59.6%. "Cape Town Water Supply System with dams supplying water to the City of Cape Town has also substantially decreased to 65.2% this week, compared to last week's 67.1%. This is also worrying, and we appeal to Cape Town residents to be prudent in their water usage. as we know that the rainfall in that part of the country mostly happens in winter," Ms Mavasa further explained.

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