Dam levels dropping alarmingly in drought-struck Eastern Cape

31 January 2019 - 14:59 By timeslive
The Gamtoos dam in Eastern Cape. The extreme heat and lack of rain in the province is a worry.
The Gamtoos dam in Eastern Cape. The extreme heat and lack of rain in the province is a worry.
Image: Andy Bentley via Facebook

High temperatures and exceedingly hot days have resulted in dam levels in the Eastern Cape province dropping drastically due to evaporation, the government cautioned on Thursday.

A weekly report by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) indicates that the provincial levels have dropped from 57.4% to 56%, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points.

The Algoa Water Supply System, with major dams covering Nelson Mandela Bay, including Sarah Baartman District, has dropped by 1.1% and is at 48.9% this week. Kouga Dam was recorded at 48.6%, a drop of 1.1 percentage points this week. Impofu Dam has declined from 33.7% to 32.2% this week.

The Klipplaat water supply system, serving dams including Indwe Dam in the Chris Hani District, has dropped to 43.6%, compared with 44.4% last week, while Boesmanskrantz Dam increased from 23.8% to 25% this week. Lubisi Dam is on 43.6% compared with 44.4% last week.

Major dams supplying Buffalo City Metro in the Amathole Water Supply System have improved from 66.6% last week to 67.9% this week. Bridle Drift also gained in the recent rains from 44.3% last week to 48.9% this week, a gain of 4.6% percentage points. Nahoon Dam rose from 67.6% to 68.1% this week and Xilinxa Dam declined rapidly to 25.5% this week.

The department is appealing to consumers in the province to use water wisely during the drought and to report leaks.

Water restrictions are in force in some regions of the province. 

In January last year, Port Elizabeth residents were asked to use no more than 60 litres of water per person per day.

The Daily Dispatch reported in November that similar water challenges affected Amathole district residents in areas such as Butterworth, Dutywa and the Fort Beaufort/Alice area, which saw district mayor Nomfusi Nxawe introducing regular water cuts in the area from time to time in the past two years.