The water level in the Vaal Dam, which supplies 12 million South Africans, has dropped from 31.5% to 29.9% since September 15, according to Joburg Water as it again calls on residents and businesses to use water sparingly.
In August, the water and sanitation department warned South Africans to conserve water after the dam level dropped to a historic 34%.
While government has not yet declared a disaster, water shortages linked to the Vaal Dam, the country’s main water supply, have been escalated by worsening drought conditions in Lesotho, which supplements South Africa’s water supply.
Vanderbijlpark Business Chamber CEO Klippies Kritzinger said areas in the Emfuleni Municipality had been so badly affected over the past few weeks that the organisation was running water rescue drives in areas such as Kroonstad.
“We, as the business chamber, had a drive to collect hundreds of kilolitres of water to dispatch to Kroonstad. We are also looking at areas in our immediate vicinity as a community and we are collecting water to send to them as well,” he said.
He added that the looming crisis was largely being ignored by society in general, even in affected areas.
“I think there is a reluctance for people to understand the seriousness of the water levels and there have been talks about water restrictions, but I haven’t really seen them being enforced,” Kritzinger said. The water shortage was exacerbated by water leaks.
“We have pipes bursting everywhere and water running down the streets for up to two days before the municipality responds.”
South Africa is the 30th-driest country in the world and is officially classified as semi-arid. The country is in the grip of the worst drought in 23 years.
According to the Institute for Security Studies, the supply and demand gap for water in South Africa will have increased by 2035.