South Africa: Water and Sanitation on Vaal dam water levels

Vaal Dam levels slightly increase after weeks of taking a knock

The levels of the Vaal Dam have seen a slight upsurge this week following extended weeks of rapid decline that saw it floating below the neutral 50% mark.

Last week, the dam stood at 29.9% but it has recorded a rise to 30.2% this week. The present levels are the same as two weeks back. The rise is an indication that the downpours in the catchment areas are beginning to have a positive impact on the dam. During the same week last year, the dam was higher at 45.2%.

The continuous drop in the levels of the Vaal Dam caused alarm as Gauteng water users believed that water shortages were imminent in the province. However, the Department of Water and Sanitation dismissed the predictions of a looming day-zero and urged water users to exercise caution when using water.

A number of other dams that form part of the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) have also seen an upturn, further pushing up the levels of the system. The system (IVRS) consists of 14 dams of which the Vaal Dam is part of.

Despite being lower compared to the levels of 58.1% last year at the same period, the IVRS is fairly steady this week at 54.9% while last week it stood at 54.4%.

Hovering at a stable position this week is the Grootdraai Dam, the levels of which continue to rise. This week the dam rose from 75.6% last week to 76.4% this week. This is a massive jump in the levels of the dam given that it was comparatively lesser at 52.3% during the same time last year.

A reserve dam used to replenish other dams such as the Vaal Dam in cases of water shortages, the increase in the levels of the Sterkfontein is a welcome move. This week the dam rose to an even firmer 94.7% from last week’s 94.4%. In the comparative period last year, the dam stood equally strong despite being 91.3% lower.

The Bloemhof Dam is another dam that has seen a rise this week, edging up to 81.7% from 80.0% last week. This is an improvement when seen against the levels of 73.6% at the same time in the previous year.

Even the Katse and the Mohale Dam in Lesotho have this week seen a difference in levels after weeks of floating in concerning positions.

From 2.4% last week to this week’s 2.7%, the Mohale Dam still hovers dangerously low and is much worse than the levels of 30.7% it recorded during the same week last year.

The shrunken Mohale Dam inched up from 20.8% last week to 22.2% this week. Compared to the levels of 14.3% at the same time in the preceding year, this week’s levels indicate that the dam has reasonably increased.

The Department wishes to assure Gauteng water users that it continues to monitor the state of the Vaal Dam as well as that of other dams in the system and will respond appropriately to any changes. It is therefore paramount that water consumers work together with the Department and municipalities to effect water demand management.

As the recent downpours provide a ray of hope of easing the impact of lack of water, the Department calls on everyone to guard against dropping the guard and to press on with efforts to conserve as much water as possible.

Part of preserving the limited water resources, the Department urges water consumers to refrain from polluting rivers, dams and streams.   

For more information:
Sputnik Ratau
Tel.: +27 082 874 2942

Hosia Sithole
Tel.: +27 082 723 2442

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