The current temperatures in major parts of South Africa have plunged three provinces to stress levels as their dam levels dropped to below half in the past two weeks. According to the Department of Water and Sanitation report, the dam levels in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West has plummeted to below 50% in two weeks, amid fears that the situation may deteriorate unless it starts raining heavily soon.
The Eastern Cape and North West provinces’ dam levels have dropped to below 50%, few days after Limpopo plunged to 49.8% last week.
The Joe Gqabi district, with eight towns under its jurisdiction, is the latest to join the drought-stricken areas in the Eastern Cape. The Orange River which runs through Aliwal North, Ugie, Mount Fletcher, Mclean, Lady Grey, Barkly East and Burgersdorp, is completely dry and most of the affected towns now rely on groundwater and water tankering.
Last week, the provincial government declared the water situation in the province a provincial disaster, which means that water funding is now prioritised to avert a total catastrophe. Limpopo continued on a downward spiral of its dam levels, with Tzaneen Dam in the Mopani District dropping to 5.9%. Middel Letaba which supplies Greater Giyani, is virtually empty at 3%.
“Given this desperate situation in the citrus fruit town, it is only a matter of time before severe water restrictions, including abstraction for irrigation, are introduced,” the department said.
At 52.7%, the department warned that KwaZulu-Natal is likely to join the fray soon, with parts of the province already experiencing severe dry conditions.