Gauteng water restrictions could be lifted

Nomvula Mokonyane says her department will be communicating with municipalities to consider lifting restrictions immediately.

Approximately 400 000 cubic meters of water was released from the Vaal dam on 26 February 2017 after the dam reached 97.8 % capacity following heavy rains across Gauteng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says her department will be communicating with municipalities in Gauteng to consider lifting water restrictions with immediate effect.

On Sunday, Mokonyane opened two sluice gates at the Vaal Dam as water levels reached over 97%.

The minister says the recent rainfall has had a significant impact on the country’s dams.

Mokonyane said due to the current status of the Vaal Dam, water restrictions should be lifted in Gauteng.

“This will be communicated with the municipalities and journalised accordingly.”

However, Mokonyane said this does not mean residents should now stop using water sparingly.

“We trust the lessons learnt on responsible water use will become a norm and a way of life for us all and that we’ll adapt to the realities of being a water-scare country.”

The minister says while most provinces have shown ongoing water increases, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape did not benefit from the recent rains.

WATCH: Heavy rains brings some relief

Meanwhile, Mokonyane said while the recent rainfall has provided some relief for the country’s drought conditions, the effects will still be felt for the next few years.

Mokonyane said about a quarter of South Africa’s dams are over 100% full.

She said South Africa’s dam levels are showing significant improvement.

“The country’s drought outlook is looking up. Most dams and systems are showing recovery at different levels.

However, the minister said she’s concerned about some provinces, especially KwaZulu-Natal, which has not shown any improvement.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)