26/02/2017 14:41 SAST | Updated 26/02/2017 15:10 SAST

Heavy Rains Fill Up Dams But It Will Take Years To Recover From The Drought, Says Water Minister

Vaal Dam sluice gates opened. Authorities warn those living near the Vaal and Orange rivers of possible flooding.

Twitter / Ministry of Water and Sanitation
Sluice gates at the Vaal Dam were opened on Sunday after the dam reached nearly 100 percent capacity.

After years of drought, many of South Africa's dams are now so full that sluice gates are being opened to release water.

On Sunday, the sluice gates of the Vaal Dam were opened following a week of rain in Gauteng.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane was at the Vaal Dam for the opening of the sluice gates.

Mokonyane warned that while the dam levels were up, it would take "a good few years" for the groundwater levels to recover from the drought.

Water restrictions in Gauteng are expected to be lifted; however this must be legally gazetted.

Mokonyane said the Vaal Dam was on Saturday at 94.86 percent of capacity. Johannesburg Water and Gauteng Weather on Sunday said the Vaal was at 97.28 percent.

The drought is not yet regarded as over but the outlook is more positive.

Despite the respite, officials continue to urge the saving of water.