This video of Theewaterskloof Dam is chilling. You need to see it

22 January 2017

"Please share this if you are struggling to understand why we need water restrictions and how this directly affects you."

Despite stringent water restrictions in the Western Cape since late last year, the crisis hasn't abated.

In fact, it's getting worse.

To put things into perspective, Cape Town-based photographer Johnny Miller shared harrowing footage of Theewaterskloof Dam, which supplies most of the City's water.

"This is a video of the Theewaterskloof Dam taken on 17 January 2017," he captioned the video on YouTube.

"It shows just how badly dried up this dam is. The reason why this is a problem is because Theewaterskloof is the largest dam by far that serves Cape Town's drinking water supply (more capacity than all the other major dams added together).

"Please share this if you are struggling to understand why we need water restrictions and how this directly affects you, the end consumer who drinks water."

Scroll down for video

Miller's certainly not wrong. The situation is dire. The levels of the largest reservoirs from which Cape Town and its suburbs get water have fallen again – to 41,4%.

Last week they were at 43,3% and in the same week last year, they were at 49,5%. In stark contrast, dam water levels in Gauteng are at 87,1%. KwaZulu-Natal is also in trouble – the province’s dams are at 43,6% full. Swaziland is at 27,3% and Lesotho at 43,4%, according to a statement by die department of water and sanitation.

Still the Western Cape has been the hardest hit.

Xanthea Limberg, chairperson of Cape Town City Council’s energy and climate change portfolio, says these statistics are cause for concern. In order for the water supply to last until the winter rains, the City of Cape Town has set a maximum daily usage target of 800 million litres.

“Last week almost 859 million litres a day was used – that’s 90 million litres more than what was planned,” she told YOU.

“We’ll have to implement stricter rules for the use of drinking water and watering gardens, or we’re going to have a huge problem.”

She says if current usage levels continue, the dam levels will be at 20% at the start of winter.

No rain has been forecast for the next week.

On 19 January, TimesLive reported Cape Town taps will run dry in 100 days.

But Sputnik Ratua, spokesperson for the department of water and sanitation, says that’s not entirely accurate.

“Water levels are much too unpredictable to be able to make such forecasts.”

Still, water restrictions are being escalated.

As of 1 February, the city will implement Level 3b water restrictions, IOL reports, which means:

-- Watering or irrigation (with municipal drinking water) of flower beds, lawns, vegetables and other plants, sports fields, parks and other open spaces would only be allowed on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm for a maximum of one hour per day per property, and only if using a bucket or watering can.

-- No watering or irrigation would be allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that would provide adequate saturation.

-- No washing of vehicles or boats using municipal drinking water would be allowed. Vehicles and boats must be washed with non-potable water or washed at a commercial car wash.

Ratua advises people to report water abuse – such as your neighbour watering his garden with a hose – at your local municipality, as they’re the ones who need to enforce the restrictions.

• To report water restriction violations, call the department of water and sanitation’s client service number on 0800-200-200 and ask to be put through to the relevant municipality. Cape Town City municipality’s number is 0860-103-089.

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