Cape Town’s dams recover to more than two-thirds full
Last year at this time, they were half as full, but the city cautions that water restrictions will only be lifted when dams are at 85% capacity
Cape Town’s recovery from drought reached another 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 averaged 535-million litres a day last week‚ 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 is 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 mindset we have cultivated over the past year."