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Water and Sanitation Minister to give update on drought & dam levels

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane is due to give an update this afternoon on the status of the drought and dam levels countrywide.

Leisure boats on the Vaal Dam. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – More rainfall this weekend has continued to increase dam levels in Gauteng, with the Vaal Dam system now sitting at around 95.2%.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane is due to give an update this afternoon on the status of the drought and dam levels countrywide.

Levels at the Bloemhof Dam have also seen improvement exceeding the 81% mark.

The department says it is closely monitoring the situation around both dams and will open sluice gates to avoid their banks from bursting.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says a few sluice gates have already been opened at the Bloemhof Dam.

“We started releasing the water on Friday at about 250 cubic meters per second and therefore, both Bloemhof and Vaal Dam will continue to be monitored very stringently over the next few days.”

POSSIBLE FLOODING

The department said in order to avoid the dams from bursting, they will open two sluice gates at the Vaal Dam and eight at the Bloemhof Dam, which could result in flooding.

Residents of Douglas, where the Vaal and Orange rivers meet, have been told to be especially vigilant.

Ratau said they are doing all they can to ensure to mitigate damage to property and loss of life.

“We would be working together with the municipalities, other national government departments, like Cooperate governance and traditional affairs, and therefore through those we will be in contact with emergency services, the SAPS, the SANDF and all other spheres of national government.”

On Thursday, the Department said Vaal Dam levels had passed the 81% mark, the highest it’s been in two years.

The dam’s levels fell significantly last year due to the drought which gripped parts of South Africa.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)