The Water and Sanitation Department says municipalities across Gauteng are currently withdrawing water restrictions that were implemented during the drought.

The department says the Vaal Dam is at 103.75% and says its officials are still monitoring levels.

This is the highest the dam has been at in six years.

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says while most provinces have shown ongoing water increases, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape did not benefit from the rains two weeks ago.

Her spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase says although water restrictions will be lifted in Gauteng residents should adopt the culture of using water sparingly.

“The municipalities are in the process of withdrawing water restrictions that were applied, however, we still do encourage people to use water wisely.” 

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service’s Victoria Nurse says Gauteng residents should expect dry conditions across the province for the next seven days.

“So we expect drier conditions for Gauteng, with only isolated showers and thundershowers on Thursday evening.”

Detailed updates on dam levels across the country are expected to be released today.

At the same time, the City of Cape Town has declared a local disaster as it tries to deal with the drought.

Levels at the city’s feeder dams have now dropped to 31.5%.

Water users’ daily water consumption has decreased to 783 million litres, but it’s still not enough.

The municipality’s Xanthea Limberg says, “At the current drawdown of dams we could be looking at approximately 113 days of usable water left. It must be noted that consumption has broken through the 800ml barrier for the first time. At the same time, this declaration is not an excuse for our residents not to carry on reducing consumption.” 

Fresh water demand will exceed supply
The Western Cape government says the province could run out of fresh water in dams by 2019 if water resources are not managed properly.

Government has predicted fresh water demand will exceed supply, due to population growth and limited water resources.

Experts such as those at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) say the province will survive the current dry season, but they warn government needs to start implementing long-term solutions, to increase supply before the situation reaches a critical level.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

Image credit: Reinart Toerien/EWN

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