Recent rains insufficient as SA dam levels continue to drop

Water and sanitation dept says 6 weeks of consistent rain is needed to replenish dams.

The water level of the Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town dropped to around 30 percent in March 2016. It is the largest of five major dams supplying drinking water to the city. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the heatwave continues to cause much discomfort to people in various parts of the country, the water and sanitation department says the country's dam levels are still dropping drastically.

The department says national water storage has been below 50 percent for over 200 days and continues to drop, despite some good rains experienced in several parts of the country last week.

The department's spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says they need six weeks of consistent rains in order to replenish the dams to acceptable levels.

Ratau says all South Africans should use water sparingly.

"You need to save water in households, but also in the streets, in agriculture and mining- everyone needs to save water, so we all have a common responsibility towards that. Let us continue to use water sparingly and wisely and where we do not need to use water, let us not use water."

DROUGHT, WATER RESTRICTIONS AFFECT FARMERS IN WC

The Western Cape Agriculture department says small towns will be hardest hit if performance in the local farming sector worsens.

The department today released an overview of the status of agriculture across the province.

MEC Alan Winde says the province is still experiencing drought conditions and that, on average, farm storage dams are only 50 percent full.

The water restrictions imposed on farmers also limit the amount of irrigation during the summer, which could have adverse effect on their harvest.

He says the rural areas are most vulnerable to changes in farm yields.