Our Burning Planet

WATER CRISIS

Parts of Eastern Cape emerge from drought, but Gqeberha dam levels are still below 19%

The Waterdown Dam after the recent rains in the Eastern Cape’s Komani area (left) and during the drought (right). (Photos: Supplied)

While some parts of the Eastern Cape are finally out of the drought, dams on the western side of the province are still below average and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro continues to face Day Zero, with its combined dam levels at below 19%.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said last Thursday that the weekly report of dam levels in the Eastern Cape showed a minimal increase from the previous week’s 61.1% to 62.4% last week.

“Despite the positive impact of the rainfall, dams on the western side of the province are still below average, with some remaining empty. The Algoa Water Supply System is sitting at 19.1% this week compared to 18.9% last week. Kouga Dam is at 17.7% this week compared to 17.7% recorded in the previous week. When compared to a similar period last year, the dam stood at 9.1%. Impofu Dam has remained at a low 14.9%,” he said.

Ratau said the Amathole Water Supply System serving the areas of Buffalo City Metro and Amathole District Municipality had improved drastically from 43.8% last week to 53.5% this week.

“This is a result of the rainfall over the past few weeks, impacting positively on water levels in several dams within the district. As such, the Nahoon Dam is full at 101% this week compared to 61.4% last week, Bridle Drift Dam has also improved at 55.9% this week compared to 43.3% last week and Rooikrantz Dam has remained unchanged at last week’s 100.5%,” Ratau said.

He said that the Klipplaat Water Supply System was above average, recording 87.7% from the previous week’s 85.9%.

“The Waterdown Dam has improved at 100.2% this week from 99.6% last week and 19.2% in the previous year. Remaining unchanged is the Macubeni Dam at last week’s 100% and Tsojana Dam also at 100%,” he said.

Waterdown dam after the recent rains in the Komani area. (Photo: Supplied)

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality

The Churchill Dam is 27.6% full, Groendal Dam is at 30.7% and Loerie Dam 72%.

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, in its water update, said during the past two weeks, tourists and visitors in the city had caused additional demand for water.

The metro stated that although the city had received rain recently and the average dam levels had risen to just below 19%, with the relentless drought some restrictions remain in place.

“January to March is generally the hottest and driest period in the city and the dam catchment areas; therefore reducing water consumption to essential use is extremely critical. This position has also been confirmed by the South African Weather Service in terms of the weather predictions for the region,” read the update.

Chris Hani District 

Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) spokesperson Bulelwa Ganyaza said consistent rainfall across the district since December had brought about much-needed relief as water sources (underground, streams and dams) had significantly increased volumes.

“This is a much welcome difference compared to the dire state of our water sources at the same time in 2021 which exerted pressure on the water service provision, as the district municipality operates a number of water schemes which are highly dependent on underground water (boreholes) and rivers/streams,” she said.

Ganyaza said that from December 2021 to date, varied amounts of rainfall were received across the district, with some areas recording heavy downpours.

“A notable increase in dam levels across the district has been recorded, with vital sources such as the Waterdown Dam in Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality increased to 100.35% as compared to 19.7% in January 2021. The Carnarvon Dam in Sterkstroom and Paradise Dam in Molteno both stand at 100%, Bonkolo Dam is at 66%,” Ganyaza said.

Other areas under CHDM:

  • Emalahleni Local Municipality: Macubeni Dam in Cacadu is at 100%, Munnik Dam in Dordrecht is at 50%, Doornrivier Dam in Indwe is at 91.83%, Xonxa Dam is at 101% and Oxkraal Dam is at 53.3%.
  • Sakhisizwe Local Municipality: Thompson Dam in Khowa (Elliot) is at 100% and the Cala and Engcobo areas, which depend on springs and rivers, have seen an improvement to satisfactory levels. The Middelburg area, which has underground water as its main source, has also seen increased yields.
  • Intsika Yethu Local Municipality: Ncora Dam is at 100%, Lubisi Dam is at 80.8% and Tsojana Dam is at 100%.

Amathole District

In Buffalo City Metropolitan the Sandile Dam is at 100.1%, Bridle Drift Dam is at 57.5% and Wriggleswade Dam is at 25.8%.

In local municipalities under Amathole:

  • Mnquma Local Municipality: Nqamakwe Dam is at 100%, Toleni Dam is at 92%, Gcuwa Weir is at 100% and Xilinxa Dam is at 38%.
  • Great Kei Local Municipality: Cwili Dam, Morgans Bay Dam, Haga Haga Dam and Chintsa Dam are at 100%.
  • Amahlathi Local Municipality: Sam Mayor Dam is at 100%, Koch Dam is at 100%, Top Dam is at 100%, Heckel Dam is at 90%, Gubu Dam is at 95%, Anderson’s Dam is at 100% and Mnyameni Dam is at 100%.

Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality: Bedford Dam is at 60%, Adelaide Dam is at 36%, Hogsback Dam is at 90%, Kat River Dam is at 91%, Binfield Dam is at 89% and Debe Neck Dam is at 15%. DM/OBP

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