‘Dam levels have dropped significantly’

The country is experiencing the most severe drought since 1992.

Picture: freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Water Affairs Department says there has been significant evaporation at dams and open reservoirs because of the extreme heat.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says, "When you consider that over the drought period, we have actually been experiencing a drop of about one percentage, per week, of our water levels countrywide.

As the country experiences its most severe drought since 1992, Ratau says people need to be educated about how to use water sparingly.

"It is critical for us to be able to always have that at the back of our minds that our water is not infinite."

He says even with water restrictions in place, dams are under pressure.

Meanwhile, while various parts of the country battle extreme heat, the highest ever temperature recorded in South Africa has been in the Eastern Cape.

According to the weather service, the mercury peaked at a sweltering 50 degrees at Dunbrody in the Sundays River Valley in November 1918.

Various towns across the country hit record-high temperatures today with Upington reaching 45 degrees.

Twee Rivieren, which is located in the same district, is the second hottest place in the country at the moment.

Other places experiencing the highest maximum temperatures in over 50 years include Bloemfontein, Frankfort, De Aar, Vanwyksvlei, Vryburg, Kimberley and Pofadder.

Climatologist Elsa de Jager says, "In November, December and January South Africa experienced a lot of very hot days and highest maximum temperatures records. I think it is very unusual that we have four to five days in a row where we have this high number of absolutely highest maximum [temperatures] ever."