Cape Town’s dam levels drop again, even after Wednesday’s storms

cape town theewaterskloof dam levels sa venues flickr

Even after the sound and the fury that was Cape Town’s skies last week Wednesday, the city’s dam levels experienced yet another drop.

The City of Cape Town today published its updated dam storage levels (pdf), but the new numbers offer little comfort for the city’s inhabitants.

Although only losing 0.5% capacity over the previous week, Cape Town’s six largest dams hold just 22.8% of their possible storage capacity. That’s nearly 8% less than the same time last year.

The City also suggests that “the last 10% of a dam’s water is difficult to use” so the effective levels are closer to the 12.8% mark.

Terrifying? Yes.

The largest of the six, the Theewaterskloof, is just 17.1% full, while just two dams in the system — the Steenbras Upper and the Wemmershoek — increased levels since last week’s rainfall. According to eNCA meteorologist Joel Guy, just 6mm fell at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday.

The City has also since dropped its daily water production target to 600-million litres from 700-million in early April, but Cape Town failed to come close to this target this past week. The city’s residents continue to use around 680-million litres per day.

The current levels are edging ever closer to a critical mark.

Once dam levels crack 20%, the City will “decrease water pressure in the network”. If levels dip below 15%, intermittent supply (read: the liquid equivalent of load-shedding) could be a reality for South Africa’s second biggest city.

Feature image: SA Venues via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker


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