In the midst of the dry winter season, the Department of Water and Sanitation released its weekly status report on reservoirs, revealing that most water supply systems in South Africa are maintaining a stable balance. However, there has been a slight decrease in water levels compared to the same period last week. Despite this dip, the overall storage capacity of the country’s water sits at a healthy 94.4%, an improvement from last year’s 93.1%.
The winter season’s persistent reduction in water levels is the primary reason behind the drop, as it typically brings lower rainfall and increased evaporation rates. While the decline is moderate and not a cause for immediate concern, the Department of Water and Sanitation is urging the public to remain cautious and use water wisely during this dry period.
One of the areas benefiting from the recent improvement in water levels is the Algoa region in the Nelson Mandela Bay area. After years of severe drought, the Algoa Water Supply System has shown consistent improvement, rising from 31.0% to 34.8% this week. This development comes as a welcome relief for residents who have faced water scarcity for an extended period.
On the other hand, several water supply systems have experienced a decrease in their water levels. Notably, the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which is crucial for water supply in various provinces, diminished from 97.2% to 96.6%. Other systems such as Amathole, Butterworth, Cape Town, Crocodile West, Umgeni, Orange, Luvuvhu, and Polokwane have also seen declines ranging from minor to faint reductions.
Despite the decrease in some areas, the Crocodile East and Umhlathuze Water Supply Systems remain unchanged at 100.2% and 100.1%, respectively. These stable reservoir levels provide a sense of security for their respective regions.
Among the provinces, seven out of nine have recorded reductions in water levels. The provinces experiencing a decrease include Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West. While the reductions are generally minor, it highlights the need for continued vigilance in water usage.
In contrast, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces have seen an improvement in water levels. These areas have expanded from 89.4% to 89.5% and 79.6% to 80.2%, respectively.
Several dams are worth noting in terms of their water level changes. The Vaal and Grootdraai Dams, part of the IVRS, have slightly dropped from 92.0% to 91.0% and 94.5% to 94.4%. Similarly, the Gariep Dam, which is part of the Orange River Water Supply System, has recorded a decline from 99.0% to 98.2%. However, Vanderkloof Dam, also part of the Orange River system, has increased from 99.1% to 99.2%.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the Albert Falls Dam, which is an integral part of the Umgeni Water Supply System, dropped from 99.3% to 99.0%. Midmar Dam, also part of Umgeni, experienced a moderate decline from 95.6% to 95.3%, while Woodstock Dam remained unchanged at 99.8%.
Kouga Dam in the Algoa Water Supply System has been a standout performer, soaring from 36.2% to 42.2% in just a week. Meanwhile, Gcuwa Dam in the Butterworth Water Supply System has experienced a decrease from 101.8% to 101.2%.
The Roodeplat component of Crocodile West, which is supplied by Pienaars River, has expanded from 100.4% to 100.6%.
In the Western Cape, where rainfall patterns vary between regions, the Berg River Dam has decreased from 101.3% to 100.7%, while the Clanwilliam Dam has increased from 96.5% to 96.7%.
Flag Boshielo, part of the Polokwane Water Supply System, has decreased from 101.4% to 101.2%, and De Hoop Dam has narrowly decreased from 100.1% to 100.0%. Meanwhile, Nandoni Dam remains at the same level, at 100.8%.
The Department of Water and Sanitation continues to call on the public to use water responsibly and efficiently during this dry winter season. Although the current water levels are stable, it is essential to conserve water resources to ensure a sustainable water supply for the future. As the winter season persists, every individual’s efforts in water conservation can make a significant impact in mitigating potential water shortages.