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NC water levels “fake news”

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Photographs and videos purported to be the current water levels are fake and were taken during the floods of 2011

THE ACTING Provincial Head of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in the Northern Cape, Kobus Streuders, has confirmed that the department is aware of “fake news doing the rounds on social media regarding water levels in the Orange River system, in particular at the Upington Bridge and Keimoes area”.

“Take note that the photographs and videos purported to be the current water levels are fake and were taken during the floods of 2011,” Streuders said, adding that “the correct readings at the Upington gauging station is currently 3.465 metres and four metres for Keimoes respectively”.

The National Department of Communication and Digital Technologies has published regulations to address the spread of fake news. Peddling fake news is an offence punishable by law and perpetrators could face possible jail time, a fine or both.

The DWS Weekly State of Reservoirs Report issued on January 11 2021 indicates that the Northern Cape’s average water storage level is at 98.9% with the Orange River at 87.1% and the Vaal at Douglas Weir 140.24%full.

According to the department the Douglas Storage Weir in the Vaal River has a storage capacity of 16 245 million m3 and is currently at 21 730 million million m3 or 133.8%.

Boegoeberg Dam in the Orange River is at 22 650 million m3 or 109.9%, Spitskop Dam in the Harts River is at 61 684 million m3 or 106.7% and the Vaalharts Weir is at 75.6%. The Karee Dam is the only water storage dam in the Northern Cape and it is at 48.6% storage capacity.

“The Northern Cape has balancing dams, not storage dams. The difference being that storage dams’ primary purpose is for long term water storage, while balancing dams are designed to act as multi-purpose facilities by diverting water into canals, pipelines or act as pumping stations. Therefore, availability in the Northern Cape fluctuates and varies from week to week,” the department said in a statement.