DWS imposes 18% water restrictions in Greater Bloemfontein Water Supply System | Infrastructure news

The Annual Operating Analysis undertaken by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for the current operating year which commenced on 1 May 2023 and ends on 30 April 2024 has confirmed that water restricts are required for the Greater Bloemfontein Water Supply System within the Orange River System.

However, in the Orange River Project, the Annual Operating Analysis of the department has not recommended any restricts in this operating year. The Orange River Project comprises of the dams such as, Vanderkloof, Gariep (Free State), Katse and Mohale (Lesotho).

On 1 May 2023, the decision date for water resources budgeting in the system, the combined storage capacity level of the dams was at 97.5%. This is a decrease of 2.2% when compared to the previous operating year.

As of 1 May 2023, the combined gross storage for Katse and Mohale Dams was at 99.5%, representing an increase of 0.6% when compared to the same period in the previous operating year.

For the current operating year, 780 million m3 is to be transferred from Lesotho to South Africa.

Following monitoring performance from the previous operating year and the fact that, Vanderkloof and Gariep Dams warrant flexibility in terms of operation with regards to releases and power generation, a discretional allocation of 251 million m3 has been allocated to Eskom for the 2023/24 operating year.

In the Greater Bloemfontein Water Supply System, the gross storage of the system on 1 May 2023 was at 98.9%. The system experienced a decrease of 1.1% when compared to the same period in the previous operating year.

Therefore, 18% restrictions are required for the system when the system storage is below the median of the projected system storage. Restrictions are to be lifted when the system is spilling. The water demands for the system exceed the yield of the system.

The system will be monitored by the Department to ensure compliance.

The sustainability of the future water supply in the Orange River System requires that, water users continue to use water carefully and be mindful of the growing demands and the uncertainty of supply, given the region’s highly variable climate.

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