Exercise extra care amid heavy thunderstorms

The Department of Water and Sanitation has urged the public to exercise extreme caution near bodies of water, as the country’s water levels rise due to recent heavy rainfalls experienced in most regions.

This follows the recent flash floods in Johannesburg, Gauteng, which resulted in some people losing their lives.

Flooding and dam level warning

Beware floodplains, rivers and dams

Department spokesperson, Wisane Mavasa, has called on communities to be vigilant during this period of heavy rainfalls, particularly those residing in floodplains or close to rivers, dams or streams.

“We have recently witnessed severe flash floods due to thunderstorms in Gauteng. We therefore appeal to community members to be extremely careful, especially those who reside close to bodies of water like dams, rivers and streams.

“This is also the jolly time of the festive season, when people will take their celebrations to places with water to cool themselves and for enjoyment. We also appeal to those people to exercise extreme caution, as we are experiencing rising water levels due to heavy rainfalls,” Mavasa said.

State of water levels

Meanwhile, the department said the rainy season has boosted water levels in the country’s dams, which were on a steady decline in recent weeks.

The weekly report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation has indicated a sharp increase of water levels in the country’s reservoirs to 94.6% this week, compared to last week’s 91.6%.

“This is a huge improvement from last year’s 88.4% national average mark currently. Most of the country’s water supply systems have also steadily increased,” Mavasa said.

The biggest system in the country, the Integrated Vaal River System, which comprises 14 dams with catchments in four provinces, including the Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West.

Other provinces

The Kingdom of Lesotho, through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, has increased from last week’s 99.5% to 102.3% this week, while the Polokwane Water Supply System has also increased to 105.7% this week, compared to last week’s 104.7%.

Water supply systems in the Eastern Cape have improved significantly. The Butterworth Water Supply System is still at high levels with 100.3% this week, a slight improvement from last week’s 100.0%.

Amathole Water Supply System has also risen sharply to 102.8% this week, compared to last week’s 98.9%. Only the Algoa Water Supply System is still at a very low level, registering 15.8% this week.

“Some water supply systems in the Eastern Cape are at their high levels but stagnant. Klipplaat Water Supply System, which supplies the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, is at its full capacity of 100.4%, an improvement from last week’s 100.2%.

“Eastern Cape water levels have experienced a slight increase, with the provincial water storage level at 77.6% this week, up from last week’s 76.8%,” Mavasa said.

Use water sparingly

Mavasa encouraged residents to use water sparingly, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay, which faces a serious challenge of taps running dry due to dwindling water levels in the water supply system if there is no positive response from water users.

“Despite figures showing an improvement in the Eastern Cape, it is known that the province is experiencing water supply challenges, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay.

“We continue to make an appeal to the community of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the surrounding areas to double their efforts to reduce their water usage and to save water,” Mavasa said.

She also urged consumers to continue using water sparingly, “despite the reprieve provided by this rainfall season, which resulted in high levels of water in the country”.





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