The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) released a South African dam levels report on Wednesday 11 December 2019, showing that the Gauteng Province’s dam levels have improved after a week of heavy rain. However, the Vaal dam level is yet to make an improvement.
In the report from DWS, it stated that the overall dam levels in Gauteng are at 128.1% full capacity and went from a water level of 88.2% last week to 111.3% this week.
The Roodeplaat dam in Gauteng also had a huge spike in the water level. “The Roodeplaat Dam is at 118.4% due to the Gauteng rains. It was at 99.7% last week,” said DWS.
However, the Vaal Dam is not making an advance. According to Gauteng Weather and Rand Water, the recent heavy rains have not risen the Vaal’s capacity as yet, which plunged to 39.05% full, as of Tuesday 10 December.
Here’s why the Vaal Dam is not filling up
Gauteng weather stated that the Gauteng rainfall predominantly goes to the North West.
A Twitter user asked: “Could this be the reason the Vaal dam has not shown any increase? Conflicting updates here!” after reading an update from Gauteng water that said: “Instrumentation at Vaal Dam, possibly due to major catch glitch earlier this week.”
“The first rainfall soaks into the ground and fills depressions like farm dams before it runs off to our rivers and dams. In order for there to be an increase in dam levels, there would have to be continuous rain over a period of time.”
The utility explained that the recent rain will not cause immediate change to Vaal Dam levels as the water does not flow into it directly.
“None of the water we have had in Gauteng goes to the Vaal dam so there will be no immediate effect. The water either flows towards the Crocodile and Jukskei Rivers or it joins the Vaal River downstream of the Vaal Dam to go towards Bloemhof Dam,” said Rand Water.
Latest Gauteng dam levels
According to Rand Water, the Vaal Dam was at 39.0% on Tuesday, the Sterkfontein Dam was at 91.2%, the Grootdraai Dam was at 75.3% and the Bloemhof Dam was at 66.8%.
According to DWS, the Bon Accord Dam is at 108.4% this week, the Bronkhorstspruit Dam is at 113.9% this week, the Klipdrift Dam is at 101.8%, the Rietvlei Dam is at 87.3% and the Roodeplaat Dam is at 118.4% as mentioned above.
Lindiwe Sisulu says dams should have been cleaned
DWS Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu said that the dams should have been cleaned before the rainfall for optimum absorption.
“If we had applied our minds clearer, we should have cleaned up our dams quickly because most of our dams are not in a state to absorb water, but we’re learning with all our mistakes, next time we’ll make sure we first clean the dams,” said Sisulu.