The Vaal Dam declined to 58% during the month of September, a huge difference compared with 81.4% from the previous year around the same period.
Furthermore, real-time data shows the levels are continuing on a downward trajectory — with levels plunging to around 52.2% since the beginning of October.
The Vaal Dam is one of South Africa’s largest dams and is considered to be a critical water supplier for major economic activities.
The dam supplies water to about 46% of the country’s economy and 33% of the population and forms part of the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS). Not only does it supply water to Gauteng and most of its Eskom power stations, but it additionally covers important economic hubs in Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape.
The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation maintains that levels have not reached a critical condition.
This is despite recording week-on-week declines.
The spokesperson for the water and sanitation department, Sputnik Ratau, told news outlets that “this is the beginning of the expected rainy season and the dam levels are not at a critical level yet.”
“In terms of a major decline, this refers mainly to the comparison year-on-year, while week-on-week it is around one percentage point or so,” he said.
At full capacity, the Vaal dam carries two million megalitres of water with the exterior surface spanning more than 322km.
A 52% mark means the dam roughly has 1,344,150l of water available for Gauteng residents who on average consume 305l of water a day per person, which is not inclusive of water consumed by industries.