Rain bonanza boosts Vaal system and water supply to 4 provinces

Katse Dam nears 70% capacity, Vaal Dam more than 100%

10 February 2021 - 14:55 By TimesLIVE
A view of the Vaal Dam on February 9 2021, near Manten Marina, after it was reported that the dam had reached 100% capacity the day before.
A view of the Vaal Dam on February 9 2021, near Manten Marina, after it was reported that the dam had reached 100% capacity the day before.

The Integrated Vaal River System looks set to hit the 100% mark as heavy downpours continue to fall throughout the country, with major dams within the Vaal system rapidly rising to full capacity.

The biggest of the systems in the country with 14 dams, the Vaal system now hovers just a few shades below the 90% mark, at 89.4%, the water department said on Wednesday.

Last week, the system stood at 82%, while at the same time last year it was at 65%.

Leading industries and energy producers in Gauteng, including Eskom and Sasol, are heavily dependent on the vital system for their water supply. The Free State, the North West and Mpumalanga are also supplied by the system.

“The good fortunes brought by the persistent heavy showers have impacted positively on the Vaal Dam, which is one of the critical dams in the system,” said the water department.

For the first time in years, the dam is at more than 100% capacity as it stands at 101.5%. “This shows a profound leap upwards from 79.8% last week.”

During the comparative period last year, the dam was at 56.9%.

“As more showers are forecast, the Vaal Dam and other dams in the system could increase to even higher levels,” it added.

Recording a slight increase this week, the Sterkfontein Dam, a reserve in the Free State, is at 96.9%, compared with 92% in the same week last year.

For the second consecutive week, the Grootdraai Dam is floating at 108.4%, compared with 100.9% at the same time last year.

The level of the Bloemhof Dam is at 103.1%. “This week’s levels are considerably higher when compared with the 76.8% at which it stood in a similar week last year,” said the department.

In Lesotho, the stressed Mohale Dam is continuing to show signs of life as it increases weekly despite remaining below the 50% mark. This week, the dam rose to 40.8% from 38.2% last week, said the department. During the same week last year, it was at a concerning 12.8%.

The Katse Dam, also in Lesotho, is opening a wide gap between the current levels of 68.6% and those of 30% at the same time last year. Last week, the dam stood at 64.8%.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau reminded South Africans that the country remains a water-scarce region.

“The department of water & sanitation urges water consumers not to be lulled by the present heavy rainfalls into believing that there is now no need to use water sparingly in the coming weeks and months.

“Of particular importance, the department appeals to water users to take a shallow bath or switch to having a quick 90-second shower, by opening and closing the tap between wetting, soaping and rinsing, and to continuously monitor their meters for possible leakages.”