Rural communities urged to harvest rain water

The Department of Water and Sanitation has appealed to rural communities, who don’t have access to potable water, to take the opportunity of harvesting rain water during summer to sustain them through dry conditions.

The department said that this week’s torrential rains have slightly improved the country’s water situation, increasing Eastern Cape dam levels by almost 2%, while the country’s average dam levels went up from 62.2% to 62.6%.

“For the past four years, vast parts of the Eastern Cape have been experiencing severe dry conditions, which left many water users struggling to access water for basic use. However, the recent rains have brought some relief for many communities, especially the rural populace that harvested as much water as it could from the rains,” the department said in its latest weekly report on dam levels.

With more rains predicted for next week, the department said it is expected that South Africa’s dam levels will improve exponentially in the run-up to the festive season, when parts of the country will experience flash floods.

However, the department has urged water users to continue saving water, as the country is not out of the woods.

Gauteng, whose main supplier is Vaal Dam, experienced a 1% increase in its dam levels from 90.8% to 91.7% this week, with Free State dams also increasing from 71.6% last week to 72.1%.

The rain in the Northern Cape has also had a positive impact, as the province’s dam levels increased from 89.5% to 90.1% this week.

However, the department noted that as the Western Cape approaches its hydrological season of winter rains at the end of November, the province’s dam levels have begun a marginal downward slide week-on-week. Provincial dam levels have dropped from 80% to 79.5% this week.

Other provinces that benefitted from the heavy rains are KwaZulu-Natal and the North West. Dam levels in KwaZulu-Natal have increased from 52.7% to 53.3%, while North West dams increased marginally from 62.5% to 63.2%.

“Mpumalanga and Limpopo levels dropped by an average 1%. The situation remains dire in the Mopani region where the big three dams – Tzaneen, Middel-Letaba and Modjadji hover below 10%,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za

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