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Major water dam levels, good for farmers

About 80% of the country’s top 10 dams have reached levels of about 70% full said a report by the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Paul Makube, senior agriculture economist at FNB, said the report reading made for a good bumper season for summer crops. “Good seasonal rains coupled with snow ensured flows to dams and replenished the regions dam level. In Limpopo’s (LP), overall dam levels eased marginally to 64.1% full but still higher than the 58.4% achieved during the same week in 2019.”

Strong rains across the Western Cape interior also boosted production of winter crops like wheat and barley.

Makube added: “The Western Cape continued to enjoy strong flows with a weekly gain of 0.9 percentage points (ppts) week-on-week (w/w) and 6 ppts year on year (y/y) at 60.7%.”

Based on the data supplied by the Department of Water and Sanitation, Western Cape’s largest dam, Thee Waterskloof was 73% full compared to last years’ when it was standing at 59.2%. Loskop and Bloemhof dams were still in the lead at 100.1% and 99.5% full capacity.

Generally, wheat production in South Africa fared well across all provinces but the Western Cape still remained the biggest wheat contributor. By Grain SA assessments, winter grain crops were performing par excellence with average yields expected.

The South African Weather Service multi-model rainfall forecast for spring indicated increased chances of ‘above-normal rainfall over the South-Western and Southern parts of the country.’

“During spring (Sep-Oct-Nov) forecasts indicate increased chances of above-normal rainfall over the eastern parts of South Africa as well as the south-western parts. In general, most of the country is expected to experience above-normal temperatures during early-spring and spring.”

However, some water dam levels still remained low, probing fears that rural farmers might not receive expected yields this coming summer season.

Makube said this would affect the most important dams for irrigation of agriculture crops such as the Kouga and Waterdown dams – they remained at critical lows of 7.2%.

Tzaneen horticulture industry was not spared, with its dam levels remaining low at 15.7% not moving since last year. On average, the region produces about 80% of South Africa’s tomatoes followed by avocados (40%), mangoes (40%) and bananas (20%).

“The Tzaneen dam remains empty as there can be no extraction at current levels of 2.1% full, also no movement since last year’s levels of 2.2% full” added Makube.

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