UPDATE: Gauteng water restrictions probably over by Friday


File: The Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng with immediate effect.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng.

The announcement comes in the wake of a dramatic change in dam levels following torrential rains that have saturated most parts of the country in the past 10 days.

People in the province would probably be able to use water freely from Friday, after the lifting of restrictions had been gazetted,Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs spokesman Sputnik Ratau said.



In the past week, officials of the Department of Water and Sanitation have been monitoring dam levels around the clock to control water flow.

“I must thank the people of Gauteng for their efforts in helping us save water by adhering to the restrictions and for using water wisely and responsibly in the last three to four months,” Mokonyane said.

“I trust that the lessons learnt on responsible water use will become a norm and a way of life for us all and that we will adapt to the realities of being a water-scarce country.”

On Sunday, the department released volumes of surplus water at Bloemhof Dam in North West that was filled to its brim at the beginning of the week by the heavy downpours.

READ: Vaal Dam's sluice gates opened

Communities who live downstream Bloemhof and the Vaal dams have been warned to relocate as they may be exposed to possible floods.

The minister noted that a few months ago dams averaged a lowly 54,8 percent in April 2016, 49,1 percent in December 2016 and 60,5 percent earlier in February 2017.

The department monitors 211 dams – of these 13 are below 10 percent, with 33 between 10 percent and 40 percent. So far 57 dams are over 100 percent full.

Mokonyane, however, said the decision to relax the ban in Gauteng did not mean an automatic countrywide moratorium on water restrictions as some regions were still reeling from the effects of a debilitating drought two-year drought.

She said water restrictions in other provinces would remain in place and would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis together with the affected municipalities and if need be, they too will be advised to lift the ban.

Mokonyane also urged South Africans to continue to use water wisely.