February 27, 2017 / 4:50 PM / 6 months ago

South Africa lifts water restrictions in the capital's province after heavy rains

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa has lifted water restrictions in its most populous province which houses the capital and the economic hub after dam levels improved following days of heavy rainfall, the water department said on Monday.

Africa's most industrialized country implemented nationwide water restrictions last year after an El Nino weather pattern brought drought conditions to much of southern Africa.

The Vaal Dam, which supplies water to the capital Pretoria and economic hub Johannesburg among other areas in the Gauteng province reached 100 percent capacity on Monday for the first time in six years, the department said on its Twitter feed.

"The current status... necessitates a consideration around the lifting of the water restrictions we announced for Gauteng immediately," Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said the department's Twitter feed.

Other provinces in the country are still implementing the water restrictions owing to the drought.

The South African Weather Service said on Friday the El Nino weather pattern could return in the spring, which usually occurs from August to October.

Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by James Macharia

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