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Free State major dams at full capacity

Staff Reporter

Some of the major dams in the Free State are starting to spill while others have gained significantly from the recent rains received across the country.

The provincial Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) says dams in the province have recorded an increase of between 88.8 percent and 94.1 percent over the past week.

However, DWS spokesperson Marcus Monyakeni warned that water shortages still persist in the province.

“Water resources are stretched,” he said in a statement.

“. . . as a result, DWS urges (residents) to continue using water sparingly and adhere to water restrictions . . . set by . . . municipalities in the province.”

The Krugersdrift Dam, about 35km northwest of Bloemfontein on the Modder River, is now 108 percent full as compared to 69 percent capacity this time last year.

The biggest dam in the southern hemisphere, Gariep Dam, is sitting at 106.2 percent, a major jump from last year’s 68.9 percent.

With a capacity of 1 000 cubic metres, the dam has a radius of 360 square kilometres and a wall height of 88 metres with a crest length of 914 metres.

It contributes about 360 megawatts to the national grid, which is enough to supply 70 000 households.

Downstream, the water is also used for irrigation by farmers.

The Vanderkloof Dam, about 130km downstream from Gariep Dam and fed by the Orange River, South Africa’s largest and longest river, reached 94.2 percent capacity last week compared to last year’s 79.2 percent.

Groothoek Dam, supplying Bloemfontein, is at 71.6 percent, an improvement from the 51 percent level last week.

The Caledon has remained stable at 100 percent capacity over the past week.

Fika-Patso Dam near Phuthaditjaba in the eastern Free State has risen from 60.6 percent to 71.1 percent within a week.

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