Water Wednesday: Dam levels around the country are lower this year compared to 2018

The DWS issued a weekly report, which indicates that lack of rainfall and the drought has negatively affected dam levels around the country.

The Vaal Dam has recorded a slight decline this week and is far below what it was at last year in the same week. The Vaal Dam has seen a sustained drop over the months, which has been ascribed to erratic weather conditions.

“An integral part of the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), the Vaal Dam is the lifeblood of Gauteng and the backbone of the economic fortunes of the populous province. So significant is the Vaal Dam to Gauteng’s economic muscle that industries such as Sasol and Eskom are heavily reliant on it for water supply,” said the DWS.

Last year during the same period, the Vaal Dam hovered at 99.4%. At present, the dam is sitting at 66.8%, which signifies a huge drop from last year’s levels. Despite the decline of the dam, the Vaal is in a relatively firm position. Last week the dam was at 67.5%. The IVRS’s total water levels this week sit at 93.7%.

Northern Cape dams show the severity of the drought

Despite a massive improvement from two years ago, the Northern Cape dam levels indicate that the drought is still affecting the province. Water storage in the Northern Cape is currently at 126.7 million cubic metres. The full storage capacity of the province is 147.3 million m3.

The Douglas Storage Weir in the Vaal River is currently at 17.593 million m3 or 107.8% and Boegoeberg Dam in the Orange River is at 20.906 million m3 or 101.4% this week. The water level of the Karee Dam, the only storage dam in the Northern Cape, is currently at 16%. This is a clear indication of the severity of the drought in the province.

Residents of the Northern Cape are urged to continue using water sparingly.

Eastern Cape dams are dwindling

The Eastern Cape has also suffered from low dam levels this year compared to last year. This decline in dam levels is due to the lack of rainfall in most parts of the province. The report indicates that this week dam levels are at 57.8%, a decline from last week’s 58.3%. Buffalo City Metro dams are on a consistent decline. Rooikrantz Dam dropped to 59.4% this week from 60.0% last week. Gcuwa dam dropped from 53.2% last week to 40.2% this week, and Nahoon dam dropped drastically to 76.9% this week, coming from 78.4% last week. The DWS has urged the Eastern Cape communities to also use water sparingly during this season.

Here is your weekly dam update:

  • The Vaal River System consisting of 14 dams serving mainly Gauteng Sasol and Eskom is at 93.7%.
  • The Cape Town Dams System, consisting of six dams serving mainly City of Cape Town, is at 47.3% this week.
  • The Eastern Cape Dam System is at 57.8% while KwaZulu-Natal sits at 62.2%.

Here are the latest dam percentages throughout the country:

For a more in-depth rainfall update, visit WeatherSA or click here. For more information on the water storage levels across the country, visit the DWS site. For a comprehensive drought status report from the Department of Water and Sanitation, click here.

Source: Capricorn Review