05/02/2017 11:47 GMT | Updated 05/02/2017 12:11 GMT

Metros Issue More Than 1 300 Tickets Over Water Misuse During Drought Restrictions

Some dams are looking better but the drought is not over yet.

Gallo Images / Foto24 / Cornel van Heerden
The Vaal Dam south of Johannesburg three years ago in March 2014, where rising water was a problem and sluice gates were open. Now the dam is only 63% full.

Metros have issued thousands of fines for breaking water restrictions, according to a repost by the Sunday Times.

The Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Cape Town metro councils have issued 1 302 fines or warnings over water usage since restrictions started last year, reported the newspaper.

These include charges against two Pretoria men, who were not named, who are accused of stealing water from a fire hydrant to fill a swimming pool after it was repaired. They could face fines of R2 000 each.

The newspaper reported that Tshwane metro spokesperson Selby Bokaba said reservoirs were at best still only half full but the city was managing the situation, Johannesburg metro spokesperson Tony Taverna-Turisan said water restrictions had cut consumption by 10% to 17% from previous levels, while Cape Town spokesperson Xanthea Limberg said if rain does not arrive by April there will be major problems.

Meanwhile the data on the Department of Water and Sanitation website shows that while the drought is easing, it's not over yet.

A map of drought areas on the website, dated December but the most recent on the site, indicates that Gauteng is no longer regarded as a drought area.

The map indicates that of the total of 28 356 settlements nationally, 141 are affected by "extreme" drought, another 972 by "severe" drought and another 5 656 by "moderate" drought. The worst-affected provinces are the Eastern Cape (3 024 settlements), KwaZulu-Natal (2 640) and the Western Cape (952).

The department's report on the state of the dams indicates that Gauteng's four dams are looking good -- Bon Accord, Rietvlei and Roodeplaat are all full and Bronkhorstspruit is at 72% as at January 30 -- but their total storage capacity is only 115 million cubic metres.

The Vaal Dam in the Free State (total capacity 2 604 million cubic metres), the key water source for Gauteng, was 63% full on January 30, up from the 53% at the same time a year ago.