News / South Africa

Steven Tau
2 minute read
25 Feb 2017
5:41 am

Despite good rainfall, SA still not out of the woods yet – water dept

Steven Tau

Due to heavy downpours which started early this week, the Vaal Dam is nearing the 100% mark.

The torrential rainfall experienced in many parts of the country could have an influence on the water restrictions that have been in place since last year, according to the department of water and sanitation.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau on Friday told Saturday Citizen that although the recent rainfall had been welcomed, they were still not entirely satisfied with the drought situation.

“We are not yet out of the woods, despite the rainfall that we have been receiving, particularly this week,” he said.

“The issue of water restrictions will only be reconsidered around the month of May, when the summer rainfall season has ended.”

Due to heavy downpours  which started early this week, the Vaal Dam is nearing the 100% mark.

Towards the end of last year, levels at the dam had dwindled alarmingly to 25% of capacity.

READ MORE: Vaal Dam over 80% full after ‘massive’ rise in 24 hours

After taking a brief break on Wednesday, particularly in Gauteng and Free State, rain returned on Thursday afternoon and it poured throughout the night into on Friday morning in some places.

According to Ratau, two Vaal Dam sluice gates might be opened by Monday. Eight sluice gates are expected to be opened at Bloemhof Dam on Saturday.

“We want to call on [people], particularly those residing in and around Douglas, to be prepared for possible flooding when the sluice gates are opened,” Ratau said.

“We were initially expecting the Vaal Dam to reach the 100% mark by Sunday but due to a reduced inflow of water into the dam on Thursday afternoon, it now looks like that might only happen on Monday.”

He said although the drought situation was slowly starting to improve in most parts of the country, the situation remained critical in Western Cape.

“We need to work even harder in that part of the country because the dam levels are declining at a rapid pace.

“At the moment, it is still too early to comment on the prognosis for the winter season rainfall there, but we are hoping for much better rainfall patterns as compared to what was received in the previous winter season.”

Western Cape usually receives winter rain.

The South African Weather Service said although there was moderate rain on the cards this weekend in most parts of the country, people can still expect a 30% chance of showers.

Most of the rain will be in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where a 60% chance is expected this weekend, going into early next week.

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