Dams low­est ever

Amath­ole wa­ter sys­tem sees dra­matic drop

Go! & Express - - Front Page - THANDEKA NTLONTI

THIS win­ter’s low rain­fall rate has led to a scarcity of wa­ter and a sharp de­cline in dam lev­els in the Eastern Cape, with the low­est lev­els ever recorded in the Amath­ole sys­tem that feeds Buf­falo City Metro.

The wa­ter lev­els of South Africa’s 214 dams are grad­u­ally drop­ping each week, which is a ma­jor con­cern for all wa­ter users.

The Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion (DWS) has is­sued a state­ment urg­ing ev­ery­one to use wa­ter spar­ingly, as well as to ad­here to wa­ter re­stric­tions im­ple­mented by var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The fol­low­ing per­cent­ages were is­sued by the DWS from Au­gust 2:

The Amath­ole sys­tem con­sists of six dams, four serv­ing Buf­falo City Metro (in­clud­ing East Lon­don, Bhisho and King Wil­liam’s Town) such as the Laing, Na­hoon, Bri­dle Drift and Wrig­gleswade dams.

The Amath­ole sys­tem is at its low­est level ever at 62.7%, com­pared with 83.4% last year – a de­crease of 20.7%.

“Th­ese dam level per­cent­ages show that more rain is needed in order to fill the dams. With the cur­rent drought sit­u­a­tion and low wa­ter lev­els in some of the province’s dams, the DWS is en­cour­ag­ing com­mu­ni­ties to con­tinue sav­ing wa­ter and to ad­here to the nec­es­sary re­stric­tions,” depart­ment spokesman Thandile Ngc­ume said.

“We urge com­mu­ni­ties to be re­spon­si­ble and pro­tect and save our wa­ter re­sources and avoid a sit­u­a­tion where we run out of wa­ter com­pletely.

“Wa­ter is life and we can­not sur­vive with­out it, there­fore it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to save this pre­cious re­source for us and gen­er­a­tions to come,” he said.

On Tues­day, the DWS web­site showed a slight in­crease in dam lev­els af­ter much-needed rain over the last week.

The big­gest dam, Bri­dle Drift, at 98 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters at full stor­age ca­pac­ity (FSC), was at 39.9% full, up from 39.6 last week; Wrig­gleswade (91,5 FSC) was up from 77.6 to 79.3; Na­hoon (19.3 FSC) was up to 52.7% from 51.9 and Laing Dam (19 FSC) was at 101%, the same as last week.

The weather fore­cast also does not look good for the next few weeks, with no real rain ex­pected.

“It is be­low av­er­age rain­fall for the sea­son and it is ad­vised that peo­ple use wa­ter spar­ingly,” Weather SA spokesman Garth Samp­son said.

To help you save wa­ter, the GO! & Ex­press have com­piled some ways of re­cy­cling or reusing wa­ter in the house­hold.

Wik­iHow pro­vides some wa­ter re­cy­cling tips and the types of wa­ter one can use.

Grey wa­ter: This refers to any used wa­ter with a low level of con­tam­i­na­tion, and no ex­po­sure to fae­ces. This is the safest type of wa­ter to re­cy­cle.

Com­mon sources of grey wa­ter in­clude: show­ers and baths, bath­room sinks and laun­dry.

Ban dan­ger­ous and greasy ma­te­ri­als from grey wa­ter:

Do not wash any­thing that came into con­tact with petrol/diesel, paint or other harsh chem­i­cals down a drain that leads to grey wa­ter col­lec­tion.

Also avoid wash­ing oil or fat into th­ese sys­tems, as grease can clog soil and fail to drain.

Wa­ter from laun­dry that in­cludes nap­pies or blood-soiled cloth­ing should never be re­cy­cled with­out pro­fes­sional treat­ment.

This is “black wa­ter”, or wa­ter that con­tains bio­haz­ards or other ma­jor health risks.

Gather grey wa­ter in buck­ets: This is the eas­i­est way to re­cy­cle wa­ter.

Place a bucket in the shower, or dis­con­nect a bath­room sink trap and put a bucket un­der the open­ing.

Use grey wa­ter to flush a toi­let. Never pour grey wa­ter into the toi­let tank, as this can back­flow into the clean wa­ter sup­ply, or clog the flush­ing mech­a­nism. Some DWS wa­ter sav­ing tips: Take a five-minute shower in­stead of a bath.

If you do not have a shower, take a shal­low bath.

This could save up to 400 litres of wa­ter in a week. Do not over­fill con­tain­ers for cook­ing. Not only will you save wa­ter, but you will save elec­tric­ity as well.

Pic­ture: FILE

CRI­SIS CON­TIN­UES: With the poor rain­fall fig­ures per­sist­ing, dam lev­els are not ex­pected to im­prove, so wa­ter must be used spar­ingly

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