Drought depleted dam levels rise after good rain

Major dams in southern Africa are steadily filling up after good rain during the summer rain season and torrential rain over the past two weeks.

BOTSWANA

In Botswana, the Water Utilities Corporation said the Gaborone Dam reached 100% capacity on Monday, the first time in 10 years.

The dam was almost completely dry a year ago with, with a level of 1.7 %. Two months ago it was at 25%.

ZIMBABWE

According to the latest report of Zimbabwe’s National Water Authority (Zinwa), national dam levels in that country is currently at 71. 5%.

Several dams have exceeded storage capacity, and the authority warned communities downstream of the Manyuchi, Ngezi, Makwi, Tokwane and Amapongokwe dams to exercise extreme caution when crossing rivers. Farmers should also ensure irrigation equipment is properly secured or removed altogether, to avoid damage.

Zinwa says heavy rain led to the damage of pumping equipment, causing service delivery problems in several areas.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation meanwhile opened two sluice gates of the Vaal Dam. It rapidly filled up after heavy rain fell in the northern parts of the country last week.

On Monday it reached full capacity for the first time in six years.

The department warned communities living downstream of the Vaal of potential flooding. Farmers who irrigate were also cautioned to ensure their equipment is secure.

On 20 February, South Africa’s dams were on average at 60.5% of capacity. This after the national average was 49.1% in December.

Several other parts of the country are however maintaining tough water restrictions, especially the Western Cape, where dam levels remain dangerously low.

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