Water restrictions to continue countrywide

February 1, 2017

With the recent rains across the country not making enough impact on the drought, water restrictions will continue, says the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The department said the national storage of dams have shown a slight increase of 0.8% from 54.2% last week to 55% this week.

At this time last year, the national storage was at 55.4%.This is a clear sign that the recent rains did not make that much of an impact on our dams and the Department of Water and Sanitation would like to caution that the drought is still upon us.

The department on Wednesday called on water users to adhere to water restrictions imposed by their respective municipalities and continue using water sparingly.

Currently provincial levels stand as follows:

Eastern Cape � 57.7%

Western Cape � 37.9%

KwaZulu-Natal � 47%

Free State � 56.7%

Gauteng � 86.6%

Limpopo � 63.7%

Mpumalanga � 65.9%

North West � 73.2%

Northern Cape � 93.7%

The department said the Vaal Dam water levels have gone up from 63.2% last week to 63.4% this week. This is a good sign considering that late last year, the dam was just above 26%.

The department had earlier released water from Sterkfontein Dam, which is a reserve.

The Western Cape System, with six dams serving the City of Cape Town, was at 40% last week but dipped to 38.5% this week. The system was at 47.1% last year.

Meanwhile, the Algoa System, with five dams serving Nelson Mandela Bay, was at 54.8% last week but increased to 57.2% this week. The system recorded 92.1% last year during the same period.

The Amatole System, with six dams serving Buffalo City, was at 72.7% last week but dropped slightly to 72.4% this week. The reservoir measured 93.1% last year.

The Umgeni System, with five dams serving eThekwini and Msunduzi, was at 48.7% last week but remained the same at 48.7% this week. The system recorded 58.3% during the same period last year.

The Bloemfontein System, with four dams serving Mangaung, was 37.9% last week and remains at 37.9% again this week. It was recorded at its lowest during the same period last year at 29.3%.

The Polokwane System measured 48.7% last week and remains at 48.7% this week. The system recorded 58.3% last year during the same period.

Seasonal forecasters predict that above-average rainfall can be expected up to March 2017.

The South African Weather Service said this week most parts of the country will have above average rainfall for the remainder of summer. This, as rain returned to parts of the country this week following a few weeks of dry and hot conditions.

While the department commends some water users who have been selfless and have been true water ambassadors, sadly, this cannot be said about all of our residents and our water usage has been consistently above the target.

The department said it is encouraged by those municipalities who continue to take action against those who use water carelessly.

The department is constantly monitoring the situation and municipalities are implementing additional measures including restrictions and tariff increases where necessary, said the department.

Source: South African Government News Agency

UN Chief Hails Improved Cooperation With AU

February 1, 2017

UNITED NATIONS � New U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that the organization is working to avoid the worst for South Sudan. He also praised the international and regional cooperation that prevented large-scale violence in Gambia during its recent post-election crisis.

Guterres spoke to reporters at the U.N. after his return from the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

The new U.N. chief said the situation in conflict-torn South Sudan is dramatic and could worsen.

Guterres said it was agreed at a meeting involving himself, leaders of the AU and East African bloc IGAD that they would cooperate to make sure South Sudan’s national dialogue is genuinely inclusive going forward.

He also met with South Sudan’s president.

In a meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that we will have better cooperation both for the U.N. mission to operate more freely inside South Sudan and for the Regional Protection Force to be put in place,” Guterres said.

African nations have proposed deploying 4,000 troops to South Sudan to help stabilize the country, where three years of conflict have displaced more than two million people.

Guterres said it was agreed that Kenya would contribute troops to the force.

Turning to the recent post-election crisis in Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh initially refused to step down in favor of his democratically-elected opponent, Adama Barrow, Guterres said the episode demonstrated what is possible when there is regional unity.

It is possible for action to be taken and it is possible for democracy, human rights and the freedom of peoples to be defended. When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the U.N. to be able to act accordingly, the U.N. chief said.

The secretary-general said the narrative about Africa must not be based on the crises, but on the continent’s potential.

He said Africa has grown economically and has great success stories that must be built on to achieve widespread and inclusive sustainable development. Guterres said that is the best way to prevent further conflicts.

Source: Voice of America