Heavy rains in the north of the country have increased dam levels in several provinces, while the drought in the Eastern Cape remained of great concern. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Heavy rains in the north of the country have increased dam levels in several provinces, while the drought in the Eastern Cape remained of great concern, the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation said on Thursday.

"Despite the damage they have caused in some parts of the country, these rains have brought some improvement of dam levels in various provinces. Gauteng leads with a significant increase to 111.3% compared to 88.2% last week," the department said. 

"This is within the context that Gauteng dams are significantly smaller than those in the Northern Cape and Free State in terms of volume."
In Northern Cape, dam levels were at 75.3% compared to last week, while Mpumalanga saw a smaller increase from 60.2% to 55.7%. 

Dam levels in the North West increased from 54.8% to 53.9% last week. 

"Despite the improvement in some provinces due to the recent rainfalls, Eastern Cape continues to experience dry weather conditions due to lack of rain. The dam levels in the region have decreased from 47.6 percent to 47.2 percent this week," the department said. 

Butterworth, and areas within the Chris Hani District Municipality and Joe Gqabi area were still in the grip of a drought with the Xilinaa and Gcuwa dams empty.

Free State Province saw dam levels decline from 66.0 percent to 62.3 percent in the past week. The Fika Patso Dam, which supplies the area of Phuthaditjhaba near Qwaqwa remained at 37.2 percent.

In Limpopo dam levels remained stable at 49 percent.

The department said overall at national level dam levels dropped slightly from 57.6 percent to 56.1 percent and warned that South Africans should remain vigilant about water consumption.

"South Africa is still a water scarce country, despite the recent rainfalls in various parts of the country. Residents are therefore urged to practice restraint when using water. 

"A culture of harvesting water should also be practiced, both in urban and rural areas, in an effort to augment water provision at households."

African News Agency (ANA)