‘Fear trickling in as dams dry up’

Taung Dam


Water and Sanitation department was in the process of publishing a gazette on water restrictions to limit the use of water for urban and irrigation purposes from Sehujwane, Marico-Bosveld, Kromellenboog, Swartruggens, Pella, Madikwe, Molatedi, Lindleyspoort, Setumo and Koster Dams and river systems respectively.

The department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau said restrictions come as a result of the continuing drought phenomenon which has seen the dams named above running below normal water levels. Ratau further said consequently, the water and sanitation department plans to implement restrictions to mitigate the risk of complete system failure to supply water.

“However, it has to be noted that the restrictions would be implemented to safeguard water supply to the users of water from dams and river systems. We want to ensure that all users both domestic and agriculture receive their fair share of the available water during the current drought period,” he said.

Acting Head of the Department in North West, Dr Tseliso Ntili said the situation has worsened at the above-mentioned dams over the past few months. Ntsili added that the decision to implement restrictions becomes more important.

“Due to the critically low levels at these dams, together with a lack of seasonal rainfall and a lack of runoff during the past few months, we did an analysis which determined the need for implementing restrictions on the use of water from these dams.

“The analysis was done by means of an operational model called the Water Resource Yield Model (WRYM) using stochastic analysis of hydrological records and DWS consulted with relevant stakeholders who included local municipalities, district municipalities and commercial agriculture,” Dr Ntili said.

He said through the analysis, it was discovered that Sehujwane, Swartruggens and Koster dams are over utilized and domestic water demand has outgrown supply to such an extent that restrictions have to be implemented at capacity and additional sources of water supply need to be developed urgently.

The Swartruggens Dam in Kgetleng Rivier Local Municipality and Wentzel dam in Mamusa Local Municipality are already dry and cannot be used. Dr Ntili said the department is currently assisting with tankering whilst also exploring other short term interventions including underground water source development.

“In Ngaka Modiri Molema district, there are also challenges in rural areas with regard to drying up of boreholes and issues relating to vandalism of water infrastructure which leads to rampant water shortages. The department has provided 25 trucks as a relief measure in the province.

“In addition to the analysis and recommendations of DWS and its stakeholders, expected reservoir trajectories for all major dams in the North West province (in particular, the above-mentioned dams) have been developed to monitor the situation for possible easing or intensifying restrictions,” he said.



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