The National Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation says dam levels across the country continue to decline due to scarcity of rainfall.

This year at the moment the dam levels are sitting at 60% which is higher as compared to 2016’s percentage of 49%.

The country continues to be hit hard by the drought.

National Spokesperson for Water and Sanitation Sputnik Ratau says water conservation is still to be maintained.

He says people must use water sparingly as dam levels continue to drop.

“At the moment, we are at the average of 60% which is still higher than the 49.3% it was last year at this time. But obviously, what we are saying is that although the larger part of the country is still not too badly placed, but obviously, the winter rainfall areas of the country are the ones that we are primarily concerned about.”

In the Free-State, the dam levels have this week showed a slight decrease from 69.9 % to 69.1%.

Provincial Head of Water and Sanitation Dr Tseliso Ntili says the department is going ahead with water supply cut off to defaulting municipalities.

Ntili says the municipalities with outstanding water bills include Matjhabeng, Maluti A Phofung, Mafube and Mangaung.

“Definitely, we are saying our cutoff point still says the 8th December. Let municipalities come and do the arrangements and to be able to talk to the department and see urgently on how are they are going to resolve this matter. Definitely, water is life. We can’t gamble with it. We need to be able to protect it and conserve it.”

Mangaung Metro imposed water restrictions in 2015.

Elize Swanepoel, who is a resident, says she is affected by water restrictions.

“Because we have the swimming pool, we are not allowed to top up the swimming pool and that is not good for the maintenance of the swimming pool.”

Mangaung Metro Municipality Spokesperson Qondile Khedama says public awareness on water conservation has been on-going:

“In 2015 July, we came up with a water demand and water conservation strategy. With the sole intention to make sure that we going out there and to teach and educate people about the importance of saving water. To date, we have been able to roll out public awareness campaigns. It’s something that we are actually accelerating in making sure that people use water sparingly.”

Water and Sanitation Department says all hope is on winter rainfall to boost the dam levels.