South Africa’s water levels have experienced a slight decrease compared to the previous week, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation’s weekly status report on reservoirs. Despite heavy downpours in certain regions, such as the Western Cape, the overall storage capacity of the country’s water has dropped marginally from 95.2% to 95.0%. However, this is still an improvement compared to the same period last year when the water levels stood at 93.3%.
The report indicates that most of the country’s Water Supply Systems have observed a decline in water levels week on week. However, two systems, Cape Town and Algoa, have shown an increase from 92.1% to 95.6% and 23.6% to 25.8%, respectively.
Among the Water Supply Systems that have maintained their water levels are Crocodile East (100.2%), Klipplaat (100.4%), Umhlathuze (100.2%), and Orange (99.5%).
The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which supplies water to multiple provinces, has experienced a further decrease from 99.3% to 98.4%. The Umgeni system in KwaZulu-Natal has also seen a slight decline from 97.5% to 97.1%. Additionally, Bloemfontein’s water levels have dropped from 99.2% to 98.9%, Butterworth from 100.0% to 99.4%, and Amathole from 101.2% to 101.1%.
Other systems that have shown a downward trend include the Polokwane Water Supply System, which decreased from 101.1% to 100.4%, Luvuvhu in Limpopo, dropping slightly from 100.5% to 100.1%, and the Crocodile West, which has decreased from 100.2% to 100.0%.
Analyzing the provincial water storage, the report highlights that six provinces have experienced a decline in water levels. These provinces are KwaZulu-Natal (90.8%), Limpopo (88.2%), Mpumalanga (98.1%), Northern Cape (91.0%), North West (89.8%), and Free State (99.2%). On the other hand, Western Cape has shown improvement, with water levels increasing from 81.5% to 85.0%. Gauteng has also witnessed an upward trend, rising from 98.0% to 99.2%, while the Eastern Cape has seen a slight expansion from 78.6% to 78.7%.
Turning attention to major dams in the country, the Vaal Dam, part of the IVRS, has experienced a marginal decrease from 94.6% to 93.8%. Similarly, Bloemhof, also part of the IVRS, has slightly decreased from 107.8% to 105.0%. In contrast, the Gariep Dam, which is part of the Orange River Water Supply System, has recorded an increment from 99.3% to 99.6%. The Vanderkloof Dam has moved down slightly from 99.8% to 99.4%.
Considering the dry winter season with minimal rainfall, the Department of Water and Sanitation continues to urge water users to exercise caution and utilize the available water sparingly.
As South Africa faces water scarcity challenges, it is crucial for individuals and communities to prioritize water conservation efforts. These include implementing water-saving measures in households, businesses, and agricultural practices to ensure sustainable water management and alleviate the strain on the country’s water resources.