Although the drought is not completely over, recent rains have brought relief to those areas of South Africa where a lack of rain has been a growing concern. While the Western Cape is still in the midst of a drought, the interior and the eastern parts of the country have received heavy rains from the tropical cyclone Dineo as well as from a low pressure trough that formed over the country during the last week of February.
The dam levels throughout the country have continued to rise over the last week and we have enjoyed a 2.3% increase nationally since the second last week of February. This means that dam levels raised from 55.6% to 57.9% within just a few days of rain.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, “This phenomenon further demonstrates that most parts of the country are still water distressed and the meagre rains we have experienced recently in some parts have not made any significant impact for us to say we are out of the woods”
Within the last two weeks, dam levels in the 9 provinces have changed accordingly:
- In the Northern Cape, dam levels have risen from 93.6% to 95%
- Dams in Gauteng have decreased slightly from 86.7% to 86.3%
- North West Province dams have increased from 73.8% to 78.1%
- The dams in Limpopo have increased from 66.1% to 66.9%
- KwaZulu-Natal dams have shown a slight increase from 47.1% to 47.9%
- Dams in the Free State have increased from 57.2% to 60.8%
- Mpumalanga dams have decreased slightly from 67.8% to 67.1%
- Eastern Cape dams have increased from 56.9% to 58.2%
In the Western Cape, dam levels remain critically low and in recent weeks the dam levels have decreased further bringing the levels down from 36.2% to 34.9%. At the same time last year, the dam levels in Western Cape were standing at 43%.
The Department of Water and Sanitation does weekly checks on all of the dams, and after the rains which have been falling for the last week over the eastern part of the country and the interior, the figures above are almost certain to be changing within the next week.
We are still in a drought
Despite the rise in dam levels, the country remains in the midst of a drought and the people are still being urged to use the water as sparingly as possible. Restrictions are still in place and residents still need to make sure that they pay careful attention to how they use the water.
Again, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation, the drought conditions are expected to persist for the next 2 years at the very least.
Sputnik Ratau, speaking on behalf of the department, said “We depend primarily on rainfall for our water availability. We hope to see significant amounts of rain, meaning consistent rainfall, over a period of time, to help us achieve the recovery we’re looking for.”
What South Africa needs is constant rain instead of flooding; something that for now at least is eluding the landscape. And although the current drought is far from the worst we have had, South Africa has always been a country without a steady supply of water. So be considerate before you water your garden or wash your car.
Want to save water and be able to wash your car and water your garden? You should invest in a grey water system from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. A grey water system is the best way to save water during the drought, and will help you to save money on your monthly water bill in the future!