By Staff Writers

Katse Dam, Africa’s largest dam, and Mohale Dam are drying up due to the dry weather, with both dams hovering below the 50 percent mark and continue to drop even further week-on-week.

“The Katse Dam is presently in a critical position as its levels stand poorly at 18.6 percent and far below the Vaal Dam,” South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This week’s levels of the Katse Dam are a far cry from the 54.7 percent the dam recorded last year at the same time. Last week the dam was at 19.7 percent,” the statement added.

Not much different from the Katse Dam, Mohale Dam remains in an equally poor state. The dam dropped slightly from 33.2 percent last week to 33.1 percent.

The Department of Water said this is not a significant improvement from last year at the same period when the dam recorded 24.9 percent.

According to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), Katse Dam is 18.58 percent full while Mohale Dam is at 32.70 percent.

Through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), the multibillion-dollar, multi-dam water project developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, and signed into life in 1986, Lesotho supplies 40 percent of Gauteng’s water.

The project is considered Africa’s largest water transfer scheme.

Water from Katse Dam and Mohale Dam flows through a series of underground tunnels to the Vaal Dam which serves as a muscle behind the economy of Gauteng as it supplies water to Sasol and Eskom.

These two industries are at the centre of the province’s economic fortunes.

The Vaal Dam has also continued to decline, tilting closer to the neutral 50 percent mark.

“Presently the dam is at 62.0 percent, down from 62.8 last week. Last year at the same week the dam stood at 95.1 percent. This indicates a sustained drop over a number of months,” said the SA Department on Water and Sanitation.

In the face of the Vaal Dam decreasing, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in Gauteng urged water users to heighten water conservation efforts so as not to deplete the levels of this critical dam.

It said: “Water consumers are therefore advised to use water sparingly and with consideration for others.”

Katse Dam currently supplies about 30 cubic metres per second (1,100 cu ft/s) of water to South Africa, which reportedly pays Lesotho $35 million per year, plus a variable royalty based on calculated water usage benefits. NW

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