Low dam levelsAbove average rainfall is South Africa’s only hope for a significant improvement in dam levels.

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), communities across the country to continue to feel the effects of the drought despite recent rainfall and dam levels remain below the desired average levels.

As of last week, the average dam levels were at 50.7%, an increase of only 1.5% from the previous week. Although this is a slight improvement, more rain is needed for the country to see a substantive improvement and to be officially considered ‘out of the woods’.

KwaZulu-Natal experienced rains mainly in the northern parts of the province, and these have not made a significant impact as the water did not make its way to key catchment areas. The average dam levels in the region are at 42.5%.

In the Western Cape, the dam levels are at 43.3%, Free State at 51.3% and Limpopo at 54.3%. Dam levels in the North West are at 65.9% with the Gariep Dam sitting at 43.7%.

Water restrictions continue to be imposed, with Limpopo, the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, parts of Mpumalanga and North West under level-two restrictions. The Western Cape remains under level-three water restrictions.

The DWS has called for intensified efforts to save water and users are encouraged to continue using water sparingly and to comply with restrictions.

“Unless there is a rapid and significant change to rainfall patterns, there is still a very long road to recovery from the drought,” the department concluded.