Dramatic decline in level of Vaal Dam, now under 40%

The Vaal Dam's level continues to fall as it records new lows. Archive picture.
The Vaal Dam's level continues to fall as it records new lows. Archive picture.
Image: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART

Gauteng's major water supply dam is at a record low.

“The Vaal Dam has this week progressed to even lower levels and has become one of the fastest declining dams in the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) week-on-week,” water department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said on Wednesday.

“For the past two consecutive weeks, the Vaal Dam remained at 41.6%, but recorded a decline to 39.6% this week. This is a record low considering the dam was at 62.3% during the same week last year.”

Ratau said the situation in Lesotho is dire.

“On the verge of a calamity, the Mohale Dam in Lesotho is presently in a shrivelled position as it sits at 6.7%, down from an equally low level of 7.5% last week,” he said.

“Floating under the neutral 50% mark at 33.2% during the same time last year, the dam remained unimproved for a number of months.”

Lesotho’s Katse Dam, he said, fell from 30% to 28.7% in a week. In the same week last year, it was at 18.8%.

FACT BOX

The Lesotho system augments the water resources in the Integrated Vaal River System that provides water to Rand Water, Sasol, Eskom and many smaller users.

Fortunately, the Grootdraai Dam saw only a slight decrease this week, falling from 80.6% last week to 79.9% this week.

“Despite the drop, the dam is in a healthy position and much higher compared with the 64% it reached last year in the same week,” said Ratau.

Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State is now at 93.5%, compared to last week’s 94%. In a comparative period last year, the dam floated at 92%.

While it remains in a strong position this week, the Bloemhof Dam dropped from 98.8% last week to 98.2% this week. During the same week in the year before, the dam stood at 97.6%.

Ratau said overall “the stability of the IVRS continues to hold firm although it also dropped slightly from last week.”

The system is now at 61.8% after a fall from 62.7% last week, compared with the 67.5% it recorded in the same period last year.

“As the dams in the IVRS drop in varying degrees, with the Vaal Dam one of the worst affected, the water and sanitation department calls on water users to heighten efforts aimed at water conservation,” said Ratau.

Government has urged citizens to help curb water losses through leakages and burst pipes, and to use the scarce resource responsibly.

TimesLIVE


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