Water and Sanitation on KwaZulu-Natal dam levels

17 Jun 2021

Dam levels in KwaZulu-Natal experience a decline as the winter season sets in

A weekly report on the status of dam levels issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation this week shows a decline in water levels in some of KwaZulu-Natal’s dams. The Department said the provincial storage capacity has decreased from last week’s 73.0% to 72.6% this week.

Midmar Dam is down from 99.2% recorded in the previous week to 98.9%. Also on a downward trend is the Nagle Dam at 88.6% from last week’s 88.7%. Albert-Falls Dam is this week at 54.8% down from 55.1%. Meanwhile, Inanda Dam is at 97.4% from 97.9%. 

Similarly experiencing a decline this week is the Hazelmere Dam at 50.3% from 51.2%, Driel Barrage Dam at a steep decline to 88.4% from 99.7%, Woodstock Dam at 95.7% from 97.0% and Spring Grove Dam at 98.2% from 99.6%.

Bivane Dam has declined from 97.9% to 94.1%. Hluhluwe Dam is at 95.8% this week from 95.3% last week. Ntshingwayo (78.5%) and Zaaihoek (78.4%) and Wagendrift (100.3%) Dams have recorded declines as well. Last week the dams stood at 79.1%, 78.6% and 100.6% respectively.

The Department indicated that there were some dams that remain above average amid the decline in others. Such dam includes the Spioenkop and Craigie Burn Dams which are unchanged at last week’s 100.1% and 100.6% respectively.

Mearns Dam has slightly increased from 67.5% recorded in the previous week to 80.7%. Also up and although minimally is the Goedertrouw Dam at 74.5% from 74.4%

Speaking on behalf of the Department, spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the minimal declines in dam levels should not alarm residents. He however called for prudent water use.

“You will note that our data shows a minimal decline in some dam levels, with most recording above-average percentages. However, this does not mean we should be reckless with how we use water,” Ratau said.

He added that the province’s largest water supply system, the Umgeni System, has also taken a dip from 84.9% to 84.4%.

“Using water with the utmost care should be part of everyone’s lifestyle. We should really do our best to change our relationship with this precious resource. Report water leaks and infrastructure vandalism, this we cannot overemphasize,” he concluded.

courtesy: www.gov.za

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Water and Sanitation urges residents to save water as dam levels decline due to the dry winter season

10 Jun 2021

Water consumers urged to intensify water conservation as dams rapidly decline due to dry winter season 

The Department of Water and Sanitation Spokesperson, Mr Sputnik Ratau has pleaded with the public to be circumspect in the manner they consume water to ensure the country has enough water stored until the summer rains soak the country.

He issued this plea after the Department issued its weekly state of the reservoir early this week, showing a rapid decline in most dams across the country, something he attributed to the dry winter season. Ratau indicated that, with the exception of the Western Cape, most parts of the country experience satisfactory rains in summer, however, South Africa remains a dry country when compared to the rest of the world.

“The amount of water stored in our reservoirs across the country has taken a knock this week, declining to 83.8% level from last week’s 84.1%. This is however a good improvement compared to last year’s 70% but there isn’t much of a difference, we need to intensify our efforts to save every little drop. This implied that we have 26 908.3 cubic metres available for us out of a capacity of 32 116.4 cubic metres”, he pointed out.

North West province has seen a slight decrease in the level of dams, dropping to 81.4% this week compared to last week’s 82.0%. The province’s dam levels were at 70.6% last year at this time.  The province’s biggest dams are at satisfying water levels. Klipvoor has remained unchanged at its full capacity of 100.7% this week. Bospoort is at 100.7% capacity this week, and Buffelspoort is sitting at 100.1%.

Mpumalanga dam levels have slightly decreased to 85.7% this week, compared to last week’s 86.0%. Longmere Dam has declined by 98.7% this week from last week’s 100%. Westoe Dam in the Usutu river has also decreased sharply from last week’s 80.2% to 78.6% this week. However, the province’s Nooigedacht and Vygeboom dams are at their highest levels at 95.6% and 100.6% respectively. Kwena Dam has remained unchanged at its full capacity with 100.1%.   

Water levels in Limpopo also declined, recording 86.4% this week compared to last week’s 86.6%. Flag Boshielo Dam has dropped from last week’s 93.3% to 92.2% this week. In Mopani Region, a critically low Middel-Letaba Dam continue to drop to 10.0% compared to last week’s 10.2%. Tzaneen dam is however at its full capacity with 100.5%. The biggest dam in Limpopo, De Hoop is steadily full with 99.0% 

Drought effects continue to affect most parts of the Eastern Cape with Nelson Mandela Bay being of the most affected areas, facing acute water challenges. Even though the provincial water storage is above 50% at 59.9%, a slight increase from 52.7% last week, the Algoa Water Supply System with five dams supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay is at a paltry 11.8% this week.

The Department is also making interventions by supplying water with water tankers in areas that are experiencing water supply challenges across the province. These measures will allow communities to have access to freshwater.

In Gauteng, dam levels have remained steady at 99.1%.

Free State Province dam levels have dropped from last week’s 97.2% to 96.8% this week. Fika Patso Dam, which supplies the residents of Phuthaditjhaba in QwaQwa, has dropped from last week’s 91.7% to 91.0% this week. This is however a great improvement from last year’s 44.6% at this time. Free State’s biggest dam, Gariep, has also dropped from last week’s 94.2% to 93.7% this week. 

Northern Cape dams are the only province that has seen an improvement in its dam levels this week with 93.1% compared to 88.7% last week. The province’s Vaalharts and Douglas Storage Weirs are at 93.3% and 110.5% levels respectively. The critically low Karee Dam has also seen a slight improvement with 15.0% this week compared to last week’s 14.9%.

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Water and Sanitation on Integrated Vaal River System

9 Jun 2021

Integrated Vaal River System continues to take a knock as dry winter persists

The dams within the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), with the exception of four dams have fallen this week while one remains unchanged for the second consecutive week.

The system (IVRS) consists of 14 dams that overlap Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and the Northern Cape provinces

Continuing to drop weekly, the IVRS has decreased further this week. It dropped from the level of 89.9% last week to 89.5% this week. In the previous year during the same week, the system was at 66.3%. This indicates that it had recovered over the months, placing it in a healthy status.

Some of the dams within the system which have recorded a decline include the Vaal and the Grootdraai dams.

On its part, the Vaal Dam saw a drop from 98.7% last week to 98.0% this week. The present level of the is a leap up compared with the 48.2% it was during the same week last year. Before the current decrease in the level of the dam, it had soared quite considerably to breach the 100% mark.

The level of the Grootdraai Dam has similarly fallen this week. It dipped from last week’s 90.8% to 89.9%. In the preceding year at the same time, it was still firmer at 86.2% but lesser compared to the present level.

In the Free State, the Bloemhof Dam also recorded a decline. The dam is currently hovering at 106.4%, down from last week’s 107.6%. At the same time last year, the dam was at 100.1%.

In contrast to the Bloemhof Dam, the Sterkfontein Dam has seen an upsurge this week. The dam increased slightly from 98.7% this week to 98.9%. The dam presently looks certain to hit 100%, if its present level is anything to go by.

Both the Lesotho’s Katse and the Mohale dams continue to drop each week.

The former dam has declined to 74.5% this week. This is down from the level of 75.2% at which it hovered last week. At the same time last year, it was further down at below the 50% mark at 36.0%

As for the former dam, it sunk to 36.5% from last week’s 37.0%. The current level is however a jump from the 12.2% of last year at the same time.     

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation’s weekly state of reservoir, the other dams within the system are as follows:

  • Woodstock –  97.0%
  • Zaaihoek – 98.6%
  • Jericho – 81.4%
  • Westoe – 78.6%
  • Morgenstond –  85.4%
  • Heyshope – 86.5%
  • Nooitgedacht – 95.6%
  • Vygeboom – 100.6%

In a bid to conserve water, the Department appeals to water users to install a dual flush toilet or alternatively to avoid pressing the lever completely when flushing urine. It is recommended that consumers with large tanks to install a cistern displacement device in the toilet to reduce the amount of water used per flush.

courtesy: www.gov.za

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Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete: Human Settlements Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

18 May 2021

Speech of Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Honourable Pam Tshwete on the occasion of Budget Vote 33

The existence of Covid-19, which started at the beginning of the last financial year, 2020/21 presented us with two sharp contradicting effects:

These contradictions are death in our sector and immediate families as well as doing business differently using technology. We would like to convey our deepest condolences to all those who have departed.

We had also planned a number of face to face activities as the department, which include training and capacitation of women so that they can directly participate in the construction of houses, outreach programmes that involve housing handovers, issuing of title deeds and conferences.

We then commenced with our virtual provincial roadshows, where we met with organised women across the country. This presented us with an opportunity to interact and establish facts around the participation of women and youth contractors in the construction of houses through the implementation of the 40% set aside for women and 10% for youth contractors.

After meeting with women from all provinces, we then decided to meet with MECs, along with the organised women, to further identify challenges in the implementation of the women and youth set-asides.

From this process, we observed that seven out of nine provinces are not implementing the set aside for women and youth contractors as expected. In this regard, let us congratulate the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces for their commitment to the implementation of this directive.

In moving forward with this very important task, we had gone back to the provinces and asked that they develop plans that will respond to these challenges in order to fully unleash the implementation of the directive. That is exactly what we will be monitoring in the current financial year.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with the CEOs of the National Home Builders Registration Council and the Construction Industry Development Board together with women representatives from Limpopo to discuss challenges around the development and grading of women contractors.

We have agreed that the Construction Industry Development Board will expedite the grading of lower grade levels for women and youth contractors to higher levels.

On the other hand, a lot of good work has been done through our entity the National Home Builders Registration Council where 2270 women have received training in various technical areas. We will also be introducing a module on Finances to capacitate women and youth contractors as this has been identified as a need by the trainee participants.

However, we can have all the training in the world, but if the training does not provide work for women and youth contractors it becomes a pointless exercise. We need to confront this challenge between training and practical placement of the contractors.

We have also agreed to hold an urgent Workshop that will audit the challenges experienced by women contractors across the country. This will enable us to respond appropriately going forward.

The other aspect that requires our immediate attention is the late payment of women contractors by provinces and municipalities. This kills the emerging women and youth contractors.  All provinces and municipalities must adhere to the principle of paying service providers within a 30 day period.

Additionally, the Department is working with the Gender-Based Violence Forum desk of GBV victims who are in need of urgent housing assistance. This is for referral purposes and to provide assistance through the emergency Housing Programme.

We are extremely excited about the fact that the Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant comes into effect this year. This grant will support 1500 informal settlements we have identified to be upgraded to level three over the MTSF.

The informal settlements programme is fully funded and therefore means Provinces and Municipalities must plan and implement the programme without delay. It is our desire that the households in the identified settlements have the security of tenure, water and sanitation.

We will closely monitor that women and youth contractors are given an opportunity to participate in the upgrading of the informal settlements programme.

We also undertook provincial roadshows where we specifically met with our MECs to discuss the performance of provinces across Programmes.

We took a keen interest in the performance of provinces. As a result of this important action, we embarked on roadshows that were directed at those identified provinces, in order to assist them in coming up with recovery plans towards achieving their quarterly targets.

Eastern Cape and North West provinces are some of the provinces where we made a direct intervention in assisting to resolve their challenges on performance.

Honourable Members, in our last year’s statement we indicated that the Title Deeds Restoration funding was in its final year in 2020/21. The funding for title deeds will come from the Human Settlements Development Grant.

We have again made a commitment to put this programme as part of our focus areas and indeed we did so. Hence, we can report to this House that there were about 32 community outreach and information sessions conducted during the last financial year. This took place in four provinces where about 17 sessions included handovers of title deeds as follows:

  1. In Gauteng, 5 619.
  2. In the North West, 808.
  3. In the Northern Cape, 156.
  4. In KZN, 3000 title deeds were successfully handed over in the last 3 months. We would like to congratulate KZN on showing us that this can be done speedily.

Having said that, the slow pace in the registration and issuing of title deeds to our housing beneficiaries is of great concern to us. We have since started a conversation in the MINMEC, to secure the necessary turn-around strategy.

We are on record, stating reasons for challenges around the provision of houses for our Military Veterans. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Military Veterans and I have had numerous engagements on this matter and some proposals have been put on the table for consideration.

Honourable chairperson, under the leadership of Minister Sisulu, we are prioritising destitute families for the provision of houses. We have participated in many programmes aimed at housing destitute families which include the elderly, people living with disabilities and child-headed families.

Only last Friday, I had the pleasure of being invited by the MEC of Human Settlements in the Eastern Cape, Ms Nonceba Kontsiwe where we handed over houses to two elderly women (91 and 94 years old) and a child headed-family situated in Amahlathi Local Municipality.

Honourable Members, as the deployed and political champion of the Central Karoo District in the Western Cape, I had numerous visits to the Beaufort West Local Municipality where we have been exposed to real-life challenges that require our immediate attention. The DG, Mr Mbulelo Tshangana has already met with all the accounting officers from the province and the municipality to draw up a plan for intervention. Siyaqhuba, Asimanga!!

In March this year, we have done something very progressive honourable members, where we initiated a programme that involved Deputy Ministers from different departments – on a visit to communities of Coffee Bay and Thafalehashe Kulombethe under KSD and Umbhashe local municipalities. As the Department of Human Settlements, we are in the process of unblocking a housing project in Thafalehashe Village.

Lastly, we initiated and championed a government solution to a housing challenge that involved allegations of house demolitions in Inanda, eThekwini Municipality. This case was brought to us by Honourable Mohlala and we used the very District Development Model and Inter-Governmental Relations approach in bringing all spheres of government around the table and the matter was resolved speedily and amicably. Phambili nge District Development Model, Phambili.

I would like to thank the Minister and the Department for guidance and support throughout the year.

I thank you.

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Wheels in motion to implement bulk water projects in KZN

27 May 2021

The Department of Water and Sanitation in KwaZulu-Natal has set wheels in motion to implement bulk water projects in different parts of the province. This comes after Minister Lindiwe Sisulu tabled a budget of R16.9 billion for the 2021/22 financial year on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.

She also announced that the Department has prioritised a number of unfinished projects across the country and aimed at utilising the bulk amount of the budget to push for their completion. “Chairperson, I need to indicate that for the coming financial year, we have prioritised the following water infrastructure projects, including the Raising of Hazelmere Dam wall in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Minister Sisulu.

The implementation of such projects come amid the minimal decline of dam levels in KZN from last week’s 73.8% to 73.6%. During a similar period in 2020, the provincial storage capacity stood at 63.4%.

“The plan is to speedily and effectively implement bulk water projects so as to ensure water security to affected communities,” said the Department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau.

He also maintained that the Department has identified severely affected districts such as the Ugu District which continues to experience inconsistent water challenges.

“You would have heard Minister Sisulu during the tabling of the Budget Vote earlier this week, she did acknowledge that water challenges in Ugu are uncalled for and should be resolved. It is for this reason that we are working around the clock to speedily implement water projects as dam levels are expected to decline in the coming weeks,” Ratau said.

Meanwhile, the Umgeni Water Supply System this week stands at 85.5% from 85.9% last week.

Midmar Dam is at 99.0% from 100.1%. Nagle Dam is down from 90.4% to 89.3%. Albert-Falls Dam is at 56.0 from 55.5%. Inanda Dam is at 98.7% from 99.3%.

Here’s a look at this week’s dam level status in some KwaZulu-Natal dams:

DamStatus last week              Status this week
Klipfontein99.3 %99.0 %
Woodstock100.0%98.9 %
Spioenkop100.1%100.0 %
Hluhluwe98.2 %97.3 %
Wagendrift100.4 %100.0 %
Bivane100.0 %99.2 %
Ntshingwayo80.6 %80.2 %
Pongolapoort58.7 %58.7%
Driel Barrage100.7 %89.3 %
Mearns90.7 %72.6 %
Goedertrouw75.0 %74.7 %

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Water and Sanitation calls for wise water use

20 May 2021

KwaZulu-Natal dams takes a dip, DWS reiterates call for prudent water use

The Department of Water and Sanitation in KwaZulu-Natal has reiterated its plea to consumers to use water sparingly as dam levels in the province experienced a minimal decline this week. The provincial storage capacity has declined from 74.0% to 73.8%. Comparative to a similar period last year, dam levels stood at 63.6%.

However, the Department said the decline was not a cause for concern as the province’s main water supply system, the Umgeni Water Supply System was considerably steady at 85.9% from last week’s 86.1%.

Meanwhile, some dams within the System have similarly remained above average this week as compared to the previous week and last year. Midmar Dam is at 100.1% from 100.4%. Nagle Dam is slightly down from 90.7% to 90.4%. Albert-Falls has remained unchanged at last week’s 56.0%. Inanda and Spring Grove Dams have recorded 99.3% and 100.5% respectively.

The Department said it continues to work around the clock to implement long-term measures to ensure water security for all.

“We are committed to carry out our mandate of ensuring water provision for all households in the country. This is as we prepare to hear priority areas which will be tabled by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu next week Tuesday, 25 May 2021, as she will deliver the 2021/22 Budget Vote for the Department in Parliament,” said Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau. 

“We can confirm that the Budget will consist of long-term projects which will need to be implemented in the province and some which will bring immediate relief to communities, especially those experiencing the dire effects of drought” he said.

Ratau said while the Department was geared up to continue with implementation of projects in different parts of the province, it called on water users to play an active role by using water sparingly and reporting water leaks and infrastructure vandalism to their local authorities.

Here’s a look at this week’s dam level status in some KwaZulu-Natal dams:

DamStatus last weekStatus this week
Driel Barrage100.7%100.7%

courtesy: www.gov.za

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Water and Sanitation: Integrated Vaal River System dams project

19 May 2021

IVRS dams project a mixed picture as they drop while others are stagnant this week 

A major part of the dams within the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) has this week seen a decrease in levels while others have remained unchanged for the second subsequent week, with just one recording an increase.

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation’s weekly reservoir report, nine of the dams within the system dropped and four others remained unchanged from last week.

Inevitably, the mixed picture in the levels of the system spilt over to the overall level of system as shown in its decline this week. Last week, the system, which is still in a top notch position, was at 91.3%. This week the system is hovering at 91.0%. The level of the system this week represents a substantial improvement from 67.4% over the same week in the preceding year.

The system is the backbone of the economy of Gauteng as the economic hub not only of South African but the entire African continent. Leading industries that breathe life to the country’s economy such as Sasol and Eskom are supplied with water from the system.

A significant dam within the system, the Vaal Dam has declined this week. It lowered from 101.4% last week to slightly above the 100% at 100.7% this week. During the same time last year, the dam had slightly passed the 50% to stand at 50.5%.

Another dam to flow at lesser level this week is the Grootdraai Dam. It fell from last week’s 94.9% to 93.5% presently. The dam stood at 89.2% at this time last year. 

The Lesotho’s Katse and Mohale dams have equally dropped this week.

The former dam has seen a decrease to 76.5% from 77.1% last week. The dam bounced back from a dire state of 37.7%, which it recorded twelve months ago during the same week.

Meanwhile, the latter dam continues to lurch from a calamitous situation to an even lower level this week.  It dipped further from 38.7% last week to 38.2% this week. Last year at the same time, it made for a dismal spectacle at 14.5%.

On the contrary, the Bloemhof Dam has surged this week. It went up from 107.6% last week to 108.0% this week. During the preceding year at the same time, the dam was down at 99.2% but in a remarkably strong position. 

The Sterkfontein Dam remains at 98.7% for the second subsequent week. In the previous year during the same week, the dam was lesser but steady at 93.5%. Three other dams that are unchanged from last week’s levels are Woodstock Dam at 100.0%, Zaaihoek Dam 80.0% as well as the Vygeboom 100.3%

The other dams within the system stand as follows:

  • Jericho –  83.5%
  • Morgenstond –  85.7%
  • Westoe – 84.2%
  • Heyshope – 86.8%
  • Nooitgedacht – 96.4%

The Department continues to plead with both businesses and households to use water with care. In this regard, it appeals that toilets should not be flushed unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. This could assist to save many litres of water as toilets do not require flushing after every use of the facility.

In the same vein, the Department wishes to reiterate that when washing cars water users must refrain from using hosepipes but rather use buckets. This is especially the case for businesses such as car washes.

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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DWS report | SA’s water situation remains stable until next summer

On the eve of a dry winter season South Africa has 80% (27 354,7 cubic meters) volume of water in its reservoirs for use until the next summer rains.

According to the latest weekly report on dam levels by the Department of Water and Sanitation, the amount of available water is likely to sustain the country through the dry spell condition that South Africans continue with their water saving practices.

Last month large parts of the country received heavy downpours that resulted in most dams reaching their full capacity and others spilling. In Gauteng DWS officials had to open five sluice gates to release water at the Vaal Dam to avoid possible floods.

The DWS report states that, despite the absence of any significant rainfall at the moment, there has not been any significant change in dam levels since last week. The dams were at 85,5%, an almost 20% improvement compared to the same period last year when they were 66,2%.

Although the Free State dams have dropped by one percent since last week, to 98,8% they remain the highest in the country in terms of actual volume. The province boasts some of the biggest dams in the country such as Gariep and Sterkfontein. The smaller Gauteng dams retained their full capacity of 100,6%, followed by equally smaller dams and the second biggest dam in the country the Vanderkloof, the levels in Northern Cape are at 100,5%.

The Vaal Dam, within the Integrated Vaal River Integrated System, is at 104,9% slightly lower from the 105,2% of last week.

At 88,4% Mpumalanga dams have registered 14% better than the corresponding period last year when they stood at 74,9%. Although the Usuthu-Inkomati Water Integrated Scheme dropped slightly because of lack of rain, the average provincial dam level suggests that the province will have sufficient water in its reservoirs to sustain it through the dry winter. Limpopo finds itself in more or less the same situation as Mpumalanga, despite a slight drop in the province’s dam levels. Having dropped to 87,5%  this week, the province compares favourably with the country’s best performing dams.

KwaZulu-Natal dams have maintained last week’s level of 72,1, with the Umgeni River Integrated System has contributed immensely to the water situation in Natal Midlands and eThekwini regions. The Spioenkop Dam in Bergville and the Driel Barrage in the Giants Castle dropped to 100,1% and 95%% respectively. The Umgeni Water Supply System continues to recharge the cities of UMgungundlovu and eThekwini with sufficient water supply despite the absence of rain in the past week. The South African Weather Services has predicted 80% rainfall for the province between Wednesday and Thursday

North West dams registered one percent drop from 82,3% last to 81,6% this week. However, parts of the province such as Madibeng, Ngaka Modiri and Bojanala continue to experience water challenges as a result of poor infrastructure and the lack of rain.

Eastern Cape dams with their downward slide as their levels dropped from 55,8% last week to 55,1% this week. The Nelson Mandela Bay region, which includes the City of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, is among the worst affected by dry conditions. The two Water Supply Systems in the province, namely the Algoa and the Amathole, are struggling to cope with the rising water demands.

Western Cape dams have dropped to 56,6% this week. However, with the end of a dry summer hydrological season in sight, the winter rains are expected to boost the province’s dam levels to higher levels.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has praised water users for heeding the message to use water sparingly and urged them to continue doing to survive the looming winter dry season, even as the country commemorates National Water Week.

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