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National dam levels still low despite rains

Officials say dam levels are at 53.7% compared to 79.5% recorded at the same time last year.

A photo taken on 7 February 2016 shows the fast-drying catchment area of the Umzingwani dam in Matabeleland, south-western Zimbabwe. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Water and Sanitation Department said while recent rains have seen a slight improvement in the country's dam levels, the relief is no cause for celebration.

The department said national dam levels have seen a 0.2 percent increase in the last week and are now sitting at 53.7 percent.

But officials say this is far less than the 79.5 percent recorded at the same time last year.

The department said relief from the El Nino climate system which has caused South Africa's isn't expected any time soon.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said water should still be used sparingly.

"In essence, we can't do a song and dance because that amount of rain that has fallen hasn't made too much of an act on the dam levels."

In January this year, the department reported significant evaporation at dams and open reservoirs because of the extreme heat.

As the country experiences its most severe drought since 1992, people were urged by the department 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."