Since the Western Cape’s recent devastating drought came to an end, many residents have had fears that this winter may not yield enough water to keep the province’s dams full enough to carry them through the season. However, they can rest at ease – the National Department of Water and Sanitation has announced that the Western Cape, and South Africa as a whole, will have enough water to last us the winter.
The national dam level average currently rests at 73.3%, and this figure has remained constant throughout the past two weeks.
“However, the department warns consumers to use water sparingly as the country may run dry if the precious resource is used negligently,” Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said to the African News Agency (ANA).
According to Ratau, the Western Cape is expected to enter its wet winter season, which he hopes will bring down heavy deluges of rain. He also added that South Africa has entered its hydrological cycle that brings a cold and dry winter, which will effect the other provinces but not the Western Cape.
Figures recorded by the Department reflects that the Western Cape’s dam levels are at a 33.7% capacity on average.
Dam levels for the City of Cape Town specifically sit at an average of 45.9%. Last year at this time the average level was much lower, at just 21.3%.
Gauteng records the highest average dam levels in the country, 96.8%. The Free State and Northern Cape’s dam levels rest at 88.4% and 81.6% respectively.
“Although vast parts of the Eastern Cape received heavy rains in the past two weeks, the regions of Gamtoos Valley and Makhanda remained a source of concern as they are almost dry of potable water,” Ratau said.
KwaZulu-Natal, which was recently bombarded by heavy storms, has an average dam level of 65.2%.
“The Free State has become an antithesis of the weather, with one part of the province drenched in heavy rains whilst another has been afflicted by the drought,” said Ratau. “Farmers who have lost stock and crops as a result of the drought and have appealed for government’s intervention by declaring the region as a disaster area. The same situation prevailing in the North West has forced the towns of Mahikeng, Zeerust and Lichtenburg to rely on tanked water for survival.”