Water precious despite rainfall

2019-02-27 06:01

The recent good rainfall that measured 100 mm in certain parts of the Free State did not drastically improve the water levels of the main storage dams meant for human consumption.

Except for the Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith at 94,0%, the water level of most dams is below 80%, which is deemed sustainable to supply and meet the demand of consumers.

Despite flash floods in some areas, a weekly report issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation notes that the rainfall over five days saw dam levels improving only by 2%. Bloemfontein was the focal point of the floods.

The much-needed rain came after severe drought conditions that rocked the agriculture sector.

A good percentage of the rain first penetrated the dry ground before the rest found its way to storage dams, some of which the level were below 40%. These dams are the Kalkfontein Dam near Koffiefontein (Letsemeng Municipality) at 23,3%, Groothoek Dam near Thaba Nchu (Mangaung Metro) at 39%, Rustfontein Dam near Botshabelo (Mangaung Metro) at 26,1%, and the Fika Patso Dam near Qwaqwa (Maluti-A-Phofung) at 37,2%.

The Groothoek Dam, which supplies water to Thaba Nchu and surrounding villages, was reopened in April last year after it was not operational for over three years due to the crippling drought.

Since the department reopened the dam, the water level has increased from 22% to 58%, making it possible to start pumping water.

The water level of the Gariep Dam is at 75,8%, while that of the Krugersdrift Dam is at 60,6%.

Given that the rains have brought only a general 2% improvement to the level of storage dams in the Free State, consumers are urged to continue using water wisely.

“Always take care of water resources and report any vandalism,” said Dr Tseliso Ntili, provincial head of the department.

“Burst pipes in the main line should be reported to the local municipality. Leakages and burst pipes within residents’ yards must be fixed by residents themselves, because they are within the residents’ properties.”

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