Johannesburg - South Africa has adequate water in storage to sustain it through the dry winter season, but the resource should be utilised carefully, the department of water and sanitation has said.
Dam levels were at 73.7 percent for the past two weeks, a 6.2 drop compared to the same period last year, spokesman Sputnik Ratau said.
"However, the department warns consumers to use water sparingly as the country may run dry if the precious resource is used negligently."
He said South Africa had entered a hydrological cycle that ushered in the cold and dry winter in the hinterland, while Western Cape province had started its expected wet winter season that would hopefully be endowed with persistent heavy rains.
For the moment the province had its average dam levels at 33.7 percent.
Gauteng province had the highest dam levels at 96.8 percent, although this was down six percent compared to the same period last year when dams reached full capacity.
The Free State and Northern Cape dam levels were recorded at 88.4 percent and 81.6 percent respectively, while Mpumalanga retained a stable 74.2 percent.
"Although vast parts of the Eastern Cape received heavy rains in the past two weeks, the regions of Gamtoos Valley and Makhanda remained a source of concern as they are almost dry of potable water," Ratau said.
"Residents in Makhanda rely on tanked water for basic use as the local river is left with the lowest water levels. The average levels in the province have dropped fractionally to 62.4 percent this week.''
KwaZulu-Natal, recently hit by heavy storms that resulted in flash floods on the outskirts of Durban, retained a 65.2 percent of provincial dam levels.
Ratau attributed this to vast amounts of rain water flowing to the sea. Dams in Northern Cape and Limpopo maintained sufficient water levels, although Limpopo's Tzaneen dam was at its lowest levels due to a wall being renovated.
"The Free State has become an antithesis of the weather, with one part of the province drenched in heavy rains whilst another has been afflicted by the drought," said Ratau.
"Farmers who have lost stock and crops as a result of the drought have appealed for government’s intervention by declaring the region as a disaster area. The same situation prevailing in the North West has forced the towns of Mahikeng, Zeerust and Lichtenburg to rely on tanked water for survival.''
African News Agency/ANA