Western Cape dam levels still low

2017-08-21 21:10
The City of Cape Town's largest storage dam, the Theewaterskloof dam. (File, Supplied)

The City of Cape Town's largest storage dam, the Theewaterskloof dam. (File, Supplied)

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Cape Town - The average level of the Western Cape's dams is a mere 30,89%, which is still alarmingly low compared to the 57,95% average of 2016, the Western Cape government said on Monday.

“We urge the public to drive down their water usage. Across the entire province the water situation remains dire with very few exceptions only,'' said Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.

The average level for the province's dams rose by a miniscule amount from 29,53% last week, in spite of the winter rain, according to the figures from the National Department of Water and Sanitation.

The combined level of the dams that supply Cape Town was 32,09%, up from 30.68% from last week, Bredell's office said.

He joined the City of Cape Town's call to residents to further reduce their water consumption to bring the daily city-wide average to 500 Megalitres (Ml).

Last week, when consumption was at 610ML, the city released a ''Water Resilience Response Plan'' that aims to bring an additional 500Ml of water to the city per day through a combination of desalination, aquifer extraction and waste water reuse.

If water consumption does not drop even further, the city has said it will institute Level 5 water restrictions from the current Level 4b.

The 4b restrictions mean residents are limited to a two-minute shower, and can only use water for cooking and basic cleaning.

Last Thursday Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said that due to climate change and drought, water shortages are the ''new normal'' for the city.

Cape Town usually relies on its dam system for more than 90% of its potable water requirements, but the drought has made this less feasible.

For this reason, it has issued the first tender for the construction and operation of three desalination plants around the city to help put early alternatives in place.

Proposed for Granger Bay, Hout Bay and Dido Bay near Simonstown, the desalination plants would form part of a R2bn initiative to produce the extra 500Ml needed.

The city also plans to get of 10Ml per day from the Table Mountain Group aquifer and 1Ml a day from the Oranjezicht Spring.

Read more on:    anton bredell  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water

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