Vaal dam at less than 50% - this time last year it was 70% full

About 40% of Gauteng’s water flows through this 96m intake tower in the Katse Dam in central Lesotho, via a series of underground tunnels, to the Vaal Dam. File image
About 40% of Gauteng’s water flows through this 96m intake tower in the Katse Dam in central Lesotho, via a series of underground tunnels, to the Vaal Dam. File image
Image: Matthew Savides

Gauteng residents are urged to use water sparingly, while abiding by Covid-19 handwashing protocols, as a major dam serving the province falls below 50% capacity.

The water and sanitation department said the Vaal Dam “is a far cry from the 70.8% it recorded last year in the same week, taking a nosedive to 48.9% this week.”

Last week, the level was 49.8%.

The integrated Vaal river system, which consists of 14 dams, has also taken a knock, dropping from 67.3% last week to 66.6% this week. At the same time last year it hovered around 73.7%.

Within the system, the Grootdraai Dam fell slightly from 87.8% last week to 86.7% presently; it was at 74.2% in the same week last year.

The Bloemhof Dam is this week at 99.1% compared to last week’s 100.6%. At the same time last year it was at 104%.

The Mohale and Katse dams remain a concern.

The Mohale Dam dipped from 13.6% last week to 12.9% this week. This is a decline from the 33.4% in the same week last year “and an indication yet that the dam is in uncharted territory”, said the department.

“Similarly hovering in a critical state is the Katse Dam, which is on course to match the levels of the Mohale Dam. The dam is currently 36.6% less when compared with the 37.2% last week. The dam was equally low in the same week last year at 32.6%.”

The Sterkfontein Dam this week rose slightly from 93.6% last week to 93.7% this week. At 93.2% at the same time in the preceding year, the dam has maintained stability over the months.

The department said people should continue to wash hands with water and soap, despite the declining dam levels. However, “they should also take care to use water wisely and sparingly to prevent any wastage”.

“To this end, communities should avoid water losses through leaking pipes and taps by fixing them or reporting them to their municipalities.

“Water users are also reminded that winter season is upon us and there will be less rains in the next few months. A behavioural change on how water is utilised becomes critical during this period.”

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