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Dam levels need public support to inch upwards


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Dam levels need public support to inch upwards

2nd August 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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After a relatively dry start to the rain season, the dam levels are significantly lower than the same time last year, says Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister Anton Bredell.

Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) data that show that collectively, the Western Cape dams are currently at 63.57% full, lower than the 76.62% recorded a year ago.


The Wemmershoek, Voëlvlei, Steenbras Upper and Lower, Theewaterskloof and Berg River dams, which provide water to Cape Town, are currently at a combined level of 75.42%, significantly lower than the level of 97.53% recorded at the same time last year.

“In the absence of prolonged and widespread rain, our only available strategy is to use less water and allow the rain that we do get to fill up our dams as much as possible,” he says, adding that municipalities must also ensure that leaks from storage dams and water distribution networks are kept to an absolute minimum, as this can also contribute to saving water.


According to data from the City of Cape Town, daily water uses for the city, measured on July 25, stood at 768-million litres a day.

Further, the role of alien plant infestation in catchment areas should also not be underestimated in strategies to be more water secure in the Western Cape.

“The Greater Cape Town Water Fund, run initially by The Nature Conservancy, calculated that water lost in the Western Cape through invasive alien infestation amounts to 55-billion litres per year. Alien clearing programmes are essential to our future water security in the province,” Bredell says.

Below normal rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures were experienced during the first half of the Western Cape’s traditional rainfall season, which may lead to water scarcity in the province should the conditions persist throughout the winter rainfall season, according to a Provincial Disaster Management Report to the Western Cape Cabinet.

The South African Weather Services’ predictions for the next few months indicate a strong likelihood for continued below-normal rainfall, although the possibility of a few strong cold fronts cannot be excluded.

The Western Cape’s traditional rain season is from May to August.

The DWS, in consultation with the provincial government, assesses water availability at the end of October to decide if water restrictions will be implemented for the following year.


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