Vaal’s ris­ing – but use wa­ter wisely

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ILANIT CHERNICK ilanit.chernick@inl.co.za @Lanc_02

DE­SPITE the Vaal Dam slowly start­ing to re­cover, the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion has urged the pub­lic to con­tinue us­ing wa­ter spar­ingly.

This week the Vaal reached just be­low 45 per­cent of its ca­pac­ity due to con­tin­ued rain­fall and the wa­ter pumped into the dam from the Sterk­fontein Dam be­tween Novem­ber 7 and De­cem­ber 22.

Depart­ment spokesper­son Sput­nik Ratau told The Star that there had been a de­cent amount of rain­fall in catch­ment ar­eas, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

“We’re still in a drought sit­u­a­tion and it’s go­ing to take two to five years of good rain­fall if we’re go­ing to get out of the drought.

“We need more rain, and the SA Weather Ser­vice said it’s pos­si­ble for this to hap­pen be­tween now and April. We are hop­ing it will be a good amount of rain be­cause it will as­sist us with get­ting through winter,” he said.

Ratau em­pha­sised that when rain falls over most parts of Joburg and Pre­to­ria, the run-off flows into rivers like the Jukskei and Crocodile, which lead to Hart­beespoort Dam.

“The rain that falls in south­ern Gaut­eng and the Wilge River area in the Free State is what sup­plies the Vaal.

“We need a lot more rain over these ar­eas be­cause we have to re­mem­ber that with high tem­per­a­tures there is also a high evap­o­ra­tion rate,” he said.

“Na­tion­ally, the wa­ter level is not do­ing as well as we’d like. We are see­ing a de­cline in some of the dams, so we need peo­ple to be care­ful with their us­age,” Ratau added.

Mean­while, the SA Weather Ser­vice has fore­cast a 60 per­cent chance of rain across Gaut­eng today, with cooler tem­per­a­tures ex­pected.

“Max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures in the province will reach be­tween 21 and 24ºC, and it will be mostly cloudy,” said fore­caster Vic­to­ria Nurse.

“Over Thurs­day and Fri­day we are ex­pect­ing it to clear a bit, with a 30 per­cent chance of rain in the af­ter­noon.

“On Satur­day there will be a 60 per­cent chance of rain across the province,” she added.

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