A few years ago, Cape Town came ‘within weeks’ of experiencing a day zero scenario, which would have left locals without access to flowing water for long periods. The dams almost ran dry in the south-west, and although the Mother City managed to bounce back, other locations are now getting tetchy about their water supply…

Will South Africa run out of water this winter? It’s very unlikely

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has put it bluntly: South Africa WON’T be short of water over the next six months, stating that ‘most dams in the country’ will have a sufficient supply – as long as consumers are cautious:

“Although the overall average of South Africa’s dams has begun a slight decline, figures show that most of the dams have sufficient water to see the country through the looming dry winter until the next summer rains, provided water users stick to their water-saving practices in the next six months.”

“The overall average for South African dams this week stands at 86%, slightly down from last week’s 86.1%. Most dams have between average to full capacity of water in reserve for use in the next coming months, thanks to heavy downpours that fell over large parts of the country from the beginning of February this year.” | DWS statement

Latest dam levels across South Africa for April 2021

  • Dam levels in the Northern Cape and Gauteng are currently overflowing at 101.5% and 100.3% respectively this week.
  • Free State’s numbers are also close to perfect, with reservoirs standing at 99.7% full.
  • Mpumalanga dams stand at 88.7% this week – that’s up 13% from last year’s totals.
  • KZN is also much better off than it was last year, reporting that their provincial dams are over 73% full.
  • The supply for the entire Western Cape has dropped to 51%, though.
  • Times are also getting tough in the Eastern Cape…

Eastern Cape dam levels for Thursday 15 April

Despite DWS’ cheery tone, The Eastern Cape water situation – particularly in the Nelson Mandela Bay region – has been reported to be in dire straits: Some reserves have dropped to an all-time low. The Kouga Dam, one of the biggest facilities serving the region, is now just 5% full – and it’s on the brink of running completely dry.

A total of eight dams in this part of the country are less than 10% full – with the Beervlei and Bonkolo facilities now totally drained: As a result, the municipality has introduced water restrictions to save the little water that is left in the area.


Presh JM Reporter

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