What You Need to Know About the Water Crisis in Gauteng

UPDATE: What water crisis? The Vaal Dam is at 100% – the fullest its been in over 6 years. Watch the video here of the dam wall gates being opened as heavy rains continue:

This time last year, it was at around 74% full. The Water Department has announced it will release water from Sterkfontein Dam starting 7th November to keep the Vaal dam at 25%.

Water restrictions announced.

Here is a table of how much extra you will be charged should you exceed the limit:

Cannot help but wonder, is this not too little too late?

Over a month ago, BusinessTech wrote an article on the water levels of the Vaal Dam. Considering it’s the main source of water for much of Gauteng and is South Africa’s second biggest dam by area. It was then sitting at 34% capacity. And according to BusinessTech, large boats are out of the water, but a water crisis had yet been declared.

Here is a tweet showing large boats no longer docked in a popular mooring at Bayshore Marina:

Here is a video, taken two weeks ago, of the same mooring:

The Vaal Dam was built and completed in 1938 and was as a joint venture by Rand Water and the Department of Water Affairs.

Rand Water, who supply water to the Gauteng province and other areas of the country and is the largest water utility in Africa. They boast their mission is to “deliver and supply world class affordable, reliable, and good quality water”. But yet the last press release they issued with anything to do with saving water was in November 2015. On Rand Water’s Water Wise website, it gives some valuable information on water saving tips. In recent Tweets they compare the Dam levels, but still nowhere do they mention that we should be reducing our water consumption.

On the Department of Water Affairs (DWS) website they have a press release, issued 15 August 2016. It’s buried in a PDF titled ‘Decline in dam levels in Gauteng’. In the release they mention it’s a concern to them that the dam levels continue to decline. Pointing out that dams in the province combined are sitting at 84%, a reduction of 4% from this time last year. And that this paints a bleak picture for them. They go on to suggest it may cause stringent measures to be taken by everyone to continue to conserve water.

The most serious part of this release is that it’s not only the Vaal Dam that is a serious concern. But that dwindling water levels is also shown by the Katse Dam. Which is the source of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, and is sitting at 48%.

According to DWS they are continuing to sensitize communities of the importance of water conservation and the possibility of water scarcity if caution is not exercised. Is this really the case, how many community members even know of this water crisis – did you know about it?

You want to watch this video with images of the Vaal Dam back in 2011 and what it looks like as of August 2016. You may think twice before turning on your sprinkler system again.

Many people on Twitter are blaming the ANC for lack of servicing the water leaks in and around the area which has apparently not helping the water levels.

The questions remains, why had this not being given the attention it deserved in the news a few months back already. Surely this is a crisis that we should be dealing with and not hoping for a rainy season. This is global warming and we need to adapt, what are the contingency and drought preparation plans?

On a lighter note, perhaps we need to take a few tips from Suzelle DIY (and Helen Zille)

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