South Africans urged to save water as dam levels begin downward spiral
“The current water levels have the potential to sustain us until the next summer rains provided we use water wisely and sparingly,” Sisulu said.Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 21-05-2020 18:46 IST | Created: 21-05-2020 18:46 IST
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called upon every citizen to start saving water in earnest and use its availability as a weapon to fight COVID-19.
"The current water levels have the potential to sustain us until the next summer rains provided we use water wisely and sparingly," Sisulu said.
She made the call as the country's dam levels begin their downward spiral, as expected in winter.
The virus has so far infected 18 003 South Africans and claimed the lives of 339 others in its wake.
Government has called on all citizens to wash their hands regularly with water and soap to stem the tide of Coronavirus.
Amidst the outbreak of the pandemic, the department said water has played an important role in pushing back the frontiers of the rampant pestilence.
"Invariably, the call to wash hands frequently has placed an unprecedented strain on the availability of water throughout the country even as the Department of Water and Sanitation has embarked on a massive rollout to distribute Jojo tanks among communities to enable them to have access to water," the department said on Thursday.
The latest weekly report on dam levels by the department indicates the beginning of a drop in dams as the country enters its dry winter season.
"In the past two weeks, dam levels have decreased marginally from 70.8 to 70.6%. The decrease is expected to be exacerbated by the absence of rainfall in the middle of winter while Western Cape dams are expected to be boosted by winter rains. Currently, dam levels in the province are at their lowest at 35.8%," the department said.
Gauteng dam levels have dropped from 100.8% to 99.8%, followed by Northern Cape at 86.7% and North West at 70.6%. Free State, with the biggest dams in the country, remained unchanged at 83.8%.
Mpumalanga and Limpopo are fairly stable with their dams dropping fractionally to 75.4% and 68.2%, respectively. KwaZulu-Natal also maintained its stability at 62.9%.
The department said it is watching the water situation in Eastern Cape closely, as the province's dam levels continued to drop to 56.3%.this week.
"This is amid fears that unless drastic measures are taken to address the situation the province may revert to the drought situation it experienced last year," the department said.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)