When a city runs dryLast week Thursday, South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation issued a statement registering concern over dam levels dropping to a 51.9% average. Average dam levels have seen a decrease of 0.6% week on week.

While there has been some rainfall during 30 August to 15 September period, there has been no significant runoff.

The seasonal outlook from the South African Water Services (SAWS) is still not encouraging with a strong indication of predominant dryness over the next three months and prospects of rain for the period of November to January.


EThekwini case

“The Umgeni Dam system consisting of five dams and serving mainly eThekwini and Msinduze has seen an increase of 0.2%. Hazelmere is at 61%, an increase of 0.2% week on week.

Pumping from the uThongathi to Hazelmere has been stopped temporarily and restrictions lifted for users from the Hazelmere Dam.

Other KwaZulu-Natal dams however remain dangerously low with Klipfontein at 12.3%, Hluhluwe at 18.1% and Goedertrouw at 17.4%. The rainfall during the past week has not had any significant improvement on reservoir levels and the current restrictions for Goedertrouw Dam will remain at 15% for industry, 40% for domestic and 80% for irrigation.


Vaal River System

The Vaal River System serving mainly Gauteng, Sasol and Eskom has decreased by a further 0.6% and is sitting at 51.8%. The City of Joburg has however indicated that there is a significantly lower increase in demand compared with previous years and all metros have published their restrictions. The impact of the restrictions is however not yet visible.

The Department of Water and Sanitation will manage the Vaal Dam down to 25% before releasing water from the Sterkfontein dam which according to the assessment conducted by the department could be in the next eight weeks.

The appointed task team will continue to meet every Monday.