JOHANNESBURG – The Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng with immediate effect.
She made the announcement following the sharp rise in dam levels as a result of torrential rains recently. The Vaal Dam which supplies the province with water is 97,8% full and it is expected to reach its capacity by Tuesday.
The announcement comes in the wake of a dramatic change in the water situation following torrential rains that have saturated most parts of the country in the past 10 days. In the past week officials of the Department of Water and Sanitation have been monitoring dam levels around the clock to control water flow.
“I must thank the people of Gauteng for their efforts in helping us save water by adhering to the restrictions and for using water wisely and responsibly in the last three to four months,” Mokonyane.
“I trust that the lessons learnt on responsible water use will become a norm and a way of life for us all and that we will adapt to the realities of being a water-scarce country.”
On Sunday the department released volumes of surplus water at Bloemhof Dam in North West that was filled to its brim at the beginning of the week by the heavy downpours.
Communities who live downstream Bloemhof and the Vaal dams have been warned to relocate as they may be exposed to possible floods.
The minister noted that a few months ago dams averaged a lowly 54,8% in April 2016, 49,1% in December 2016 and 60,5% earlier in February 2017.
The department monitors 211 dams – of these 13 are below 10%, with 33 between 10% – 40%. So far 57 dams are above 100% full.
Mokonyane, however, said the the decision to relax the ban in Gauteng did not mean an automatic country-wide moratorium on water restrictions as some regions were still reeling from the effects of a debilitating drought two-year drought.
She said water restrictions in other provinces would remain in place and would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis together with the affected municipalities and if need be, they too will be advised to lift the ban.
Mokonyane also urged South Africans to continue to use water wisely.
– African News Agency (ANA)