South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu urges South Africans to reduce water consumption

8 Jan 2020

The national water storage in the country continues to dwindle at a low of 59.2% compared to 64.1% during the same period last year.

South Africa’s full water capacity is about 32012.2 cubic metres, and currently we are left with 59 metres of water. The dam levels report released by the Department of Water and Sanitation this week, demonstrates that some parts of the country are yet to recover from the devastating drought experienced in 2014 and continue to bear the brunt.

In an effort to curtail further distress in the affected areas such as Eastern Cape, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation has instructed Acting Director- General Mr Mbulelo Tshangana to source more funds to effectively deal with water challenges.

This came as a result of devastating effects experienced in the parts of drought stricken Eastern Cape, where the provincial water storage has plummeted to a low of 45.5%. This is a sharp decline compared to 58.6% during the same period last year, a sign that the province is becoming water stressed.

Water supply systems in Eastern Cape – such as Algoa and Amathole – have experienced consistent decline all year round, affecting water supply to the dams within these systems. The Algoa Water Supply System is at 30.6% compared to 51.2% during the same period last year. This system supplies water to dams in Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the Amathole Water Supply System with dams in the Buffalo City and surrounding areas has declined to 42.3% compared to 68.5% during the same period last year.

Some dams in areas such as Butterworth and Queenstown have run dry and ground water is being prioritised in those areas. Water tankers are being implemented as an immediate relief. This is while the Department, working together with Provincial Government and Local Government, is working on long term solutions.

In Free State the provincial water storage is at 65.6%, a decline from 73.4% during the same period last year. The Bloemfontein Water Supply System – with dams supplying water to Mangaung Metro and surrounding areas – is at a low of 37.9%, a decline from 55.1% during the same period last year.

The provincial water storage in Gauteng is satisfactory at 99.2%. The Integrated Vaal River System with major dams such Vaal is at 62.4%. However, Vaal Dam is struggling to recover optimally as it sits at 50.6%, a sharp decline compared to 74.6% during the same period last year.

Water storages in other provinces are as follows: 

  • KwaZulu-Natal – 54.4%
  • Limpopo – 57.2%
  • Mpumalanga – 72.1%
  • Northern Cape – 72.8%
  • North West 64.8%
  • Western Cape – 55.6%

Minister Sisulu has further called for more cooperation through all spheres of government, civil society organisation, private sector as well as communities to work closely together in a coherent manner.

In addition, she has emphasised that South Africa is a water scarce country and that we need to reduce the manner in which we consume water and save as much water as possible.

The Department of Water and Sanitation working with all its stakeholders, continues to intervene in water stressed areas and it has spent millions of rands in the affected areas to ensure communities do not run out of this important resource.

For more information contact:
Sputnik Ratau, Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation
Cell: 082 874 2942

More on: