Vaal Dam levels have continued their steep fall this week, plummeting to levels unseen since the beginning of 2017, when large parts of the country were in the grip of a devastating drought.

“As the Vaal Dam persists to drop week-on-week, it now hovers at distressing levels of 37.6%, down from 38.8% last week. During the comparative period last year, the dam stood at reasonably stable levels of 59.9%,” the Department of Water and Sanitation said on Thursday, September 3.

The dam levels at Grooitdraai Dam have dropped from 79.4% last week to 78.9%.

However, the present levels of the dam remain higher when compared to the 61.7% at which it stood during the same week last year.

“A reserve dam located in the Free State, the Sterkfontein Dam, held on to 93.9% for a second successive week and is higher compared with the levels of 92.0% at the same period last year,” the department said.

The Bloemhof Dam recorded an upsurge this week, increasing from last week’s 96.5% to 97.3% presently. Conversely, it stood lower but firm at 96.0% in the same week last year.

However, the same cannot be said about the levels of both the Mohale and Katse Dams, which are both in Lesotho.

“Mohale Dam has deteriorated to an alarming 6.0% this week, dropping from an equally bleak 6.2% last week. At the same time last year, the dam was at 33.1%.

“Meanwhile, the drop in the levels of Katse Dam seem to have become a norm in the past few months as it continues to see a downward slope. It dropped from 27.7% last week to 27.5% this week while at the same time last year it was in the red at an equally low 17.8%,” the department said.

The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which consists of 14 dams, has recorded a fall again this week.

“Although the levels of the IVRS are impacted negatively by the falling dams, it remains stable. This is even as it has decreased from 60.8% last week to the present levels of 60.4%. The IVRS was much healthier at 66.3 in the same week last year.

“As the levels of the Vaal Dam persist to plummet to lower than expected, the Department of Water and Sanitation warns Gauteng water consumers to heed calls to curtail excessive usage,” the department said.

The department has emphasised that it will take time for dams such as the Vaal Dam to be replenished by the summer rain falls that are expected and given the fact that South Africa experiences one of the most erratic weather conditions. 

“Accordingly, water consumers are urged not to let the guard down but to continue working with their local municipalities to ensure that every drop of water is saved,” the department said. 

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