GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - Graaff-Reinet locals woke up to a magnificent sight on Saturday 8 February, as water started to fill the empty Nqweba Dam.
This came after days of much-needed rain fell in the drought-stricken area. Graaff-Reinet local, Thinus Ferreira, measured 25mm of rain between 7 and 8 February alone. The dam had been empty since February last year.
Edwardine Abader, acting municipal spokesperson of the Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality, told the Advertiser on Tuesday 11 February that the water level of the dam was 5,41% at that stage.
Abader could not verify whether this per centage is expected to rise and said it depends on the amount of rainfall yet to come in the catchment areas.
"[We] are grateful for the rain thus far, but it is not sufficient and does not eradicate the current water challenges in town," Abader said. "Water restrictions remain in place."
According to Abader, the dam was not desilted before the rain arrived, "as this is an extremely costly process." The Advertiser reported last week that water was found one meter below the empty dam, but that it was locked up in silt. Abader added that the Graaff-Reinet Economic Development Forum is investigating the possibility of desilting the dam or to find other alternatives.
Abader said that the municipality reserves comments about the state of the Nqweba Dam wall, as they are still awaiting a report from the Department of Water and Sanitation. MP Samantha Graham-Maré raised her concern about the wall in parliament in October last year, after which Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu ordered an investigation.
"However, this investigation has not yet taken place. "I will be resubmitting questions to parliament this week, to find out what the time frame is and why it has not occurred," Graham-Maré told the Advertiser.
Warmer, less rainy days await Graaff-Reinet in the days to come, with temperatures of up to 38 degrees forecasted for Thursday 13 February, and 36 for Friday.
The town hopes to see more rain on Sunday 16 February, as a 50 per cent chance of rain is predicted.
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