Buffalo City Metro residents can breath a sigh of relief that the recent rains in the area fell in the Amathole dam catchment area, warding off the introduction of further water restrictions.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWAS) said the levels of the Amathole dam system had risen in the last two weeks.
From October 9 to 23 the average level went from 60.71% to 68.59%.
Included in this system are the Laing, Rooikrantz, Bridle Drift, Nahoon, Gubu and Wriggleswade dams.
Levels rose at five of these but one, Laing, dropped 0.86%.
The biggest inflows were at the Rooikrantz, Bridle Drift and Nahoon dams, which rose 10.64%, 10.87% and 25.8% respectively.
The Gubu and Wriggleswade dams saw slight increases of 2.31% and 3.11% respectively.
Dam levels throughout the province dropped 4% in a month and are sitting just above half-full.
On Monday DWAS reported that average dam levels had dipped from 55.5% in late September to 51.46% now.
This is almost exactly the same as last year’s 51.48%.
Draining of the dams was slowed by rain in the last few weeks, but the levels are still cause for concern, said Garth Sampson of the SA Weather Services office in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Sampson expects the rest of 2017 to be dry. “This year there is no sign of something fantastic happening in regards to rainfall in the region,” said Sampson.
“When we look at the seasonal forecast we see that our best hope is normal rainfall in January. And while that will be nice it is not enough to bring about serious change to drought in the province.”
Samkelo Ngwenya, BCM’s spokesman, appealed to residents to reduce their water usage by 10% despite the recent rainfall.
He said a 10% water restriction was in place but without sanctions “until further notice”.
“The recent rain that we were praying for brought a little bit of relief but it is not sustainable so we still need more rain,” said Ngwenya.
“DWAS has also stopped the release of raw water from Wriggleswade dam, which was supplementing Bridle Drift, Laing, and Nahoon dams,” the spokesman said.
He said that punitive tariffs for not abiding to the 10% water restrictions would only be implemented when the Wriggleswade dam level dropped below 60% and the Bridle Drift went below 40%.