Water restrictions continue, despite weekend rain

The National Department of Water and Sanitation will not be lifting the 15 per cent water restrictions anytime soon. This picture was taken close to the Blyderivierpoort Dam. Photograph: Tom van der Meulen.

Social media networks were flooded with posts about the large amount of rainfall Gauteng has had during the weekend of 6 to 8 January.

Some areas in the province had over 150mm of rain, resulting in flash floods but luckily increasing dam levels.

However, the country’s water woes are all but a thing of the past. Although the Vaal Dam’s water level increased by about 27 per cent, the National Department of Water and Sanitation (NDWS) will not be lifting the restrictions that entail a 15 per cent reduction in water usage anytime soon.

“Much rain has fallen over the past weekend, but we are still in a drought,” said Spudnik Ratau, NDWS spokesperson.

“It will take a number of years for dams to reach the desired levels, and for water to be secure.”

Spudnik said the water restrictions will continue and it’s difficult to say exactly when they will be lifted.

“We have seen some savings in water [consuption], however we have had some regression since the rainfall. South Africans have not yet adopted the culture of saving water.”

The department urges community members to start taking water restrictions and water shortages seriously as continued wastage could cause water to become completely unavailable.

“Water restrictions are not an issue the department just woke up about and decided to implement. It’s a long process in which many stakeholders had a say. The department understands that we all want to fill our swimming pools, water our gardens and wash our cars with a hosepipe, but if we don’t start saving now, we might not secure water anytime soon.”

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