Despite rise in dam levels, Western Cape urged to 'save water while we have it'

23 December 2019 - 18:29 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Rains in the Western Cape have left dam levels at 58.5%, a slight improvement on last year.
Rains in the Western Cape have left dam levels at 58.5%, a slight improvement on last year.
Image: Anna Nikonorova/

Western Cape dam levels are sitting at 58.5% - a slight improvement from the same period last year, when the province's dam levels were at 57.1%.

However, some parts of the province are not faring well at all, warned Anton Bredell, MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning.

"Some areas are worse off than last year, in particular within the Karoo region of the province, where the Gouritz River catchment sees average dam levels of only 15.6% at the moment. The area however relies largely on groundwater for drinking and presently all communities still have drinking water. This is monitored on a daily basis," he said.

Bredell warned that early weather predictions indicated that the season ahead might not see the rainfall needed in all regions.

"This means we continue to urge communities across the entire province to continue to use water responsibly, including over the holidays, when demand does increase," he said.

"There are some areas where water is much less of a concern at the moment - including the City of Cape Town, where dam levels are at 76.8% on average. But this does not mean we can use water wastefully, even in those areas. The best time to save water is while we have it."

Bredell called on residents to also reduce their electricity consumption to assist in preventing load-shedding.

"The province is in constant contact with Eskom. We understand while load-shedding is not expected over the Christmas period, the grid remains under pressure. If we all reduce our consumption, we assist Eskom in preventing any load-shedding," he said.

He praised firefighters battling severe wildfires over the past few days in the Greyton and Hessequa areas.

"Conditions across the province remain largely hot and windy - and these are bad conditions for wildfires.

"We want to urge the public to work with us in preventing fires. Be responsible and contact the authorities as soon as possible in the event of smoke or a fire that has gotten out of control. The number is 112."