Cape Town dams two-thirds full after heavy rain

05 September 2018 - 13:07 By Dave Chambers
Theewaterskloof Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. The current level is 49%. File photo.
Theewaterskloof Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. The current level is 49%. File photo.
Image: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

Cape Town’s recovery from drought reached another key landmark on Wednesday.

After heavy overnight rainfall‚ the six key dams supplying the city are more than two-thirds full‚ at 66.7% of their total capacity‚ for the first time since 2015. At the same time last year they were at 35.1%.

Cape Town’s water consumption last week averaged 535 million litres a day‚ against a target of 450 million litres. This was 22 million litres higher than the previous week.

August rainfall was below the long-term average for the month throughout the city’s catchment areas.

The level of Theewaterskloof dam‚ the city’s largest‚ was at 49% on Monday and is certain to pass the halfway mark when the next detailed measurements are done on Monday.

Stringent water restrictions remain in place‚ and the Department of Water and Sanitation has said they will be reconsidered only when dam levels reach 85%.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said: “Any relaxation of restrictions will at first be conservative. We cannot return to a business-as-usual attitude to water without risking water security in the years to come.

“The rainfall over the past few weeks‚ combined with continued saving efforts by the vast majority of residents‚ has seen dams fill to levels the City hasn’t seen in years.”

Having avoided disaster‚ the city council was now focusing on managing the recovery from drought‚ Neilson said.

“Although much work is planned over the next few years to augment the city’s water supply and continue to create awareness about water conservation‚ we must remember that we live in a region with a semi-arid climate.

“At the moment‚ we will still rely on our dams to provide the majority of our water. Given the unpredictable nature of our rainfall‚ it is imperative that we diversify our supply for the future‚ and entrench the water-saving mind-set we have cultivated over the past year.”