Cape Town dams now at 29%, water usage remains ‘far too high’

It’s been a good week for Cape Town’s water crisis. First, the City debuted its new water calculator to help consumers better understand their water usage habits. Now, the latest dam levels are in, and they’re looking positive.

Overall levels across the six largest dams in the Western Cape system are up by 1.5% over last week. They now stand just 0.6% below the 30% barrier (pdf).

Most impressive is the Berg River Dam, which is now 44.8% full after languishing at 41% last week. This still pales in comparison to August 2016’s 62% marker.

Cape Town dam levels august 2017

Steenbras Upper Dam saw a 5% jump, while its Lower sibling saw a slight decline.

Cape Town’s Berg River Dam saw a 3.8% increase after early August’s rains

Theewaterskloof remains critical, standing at just 22.8% full, up by 1.1% over the previous week. According to the City’s graphs, the dam did not receive any rain during the previous cold front which struck Cape Town at the beginning of August.

Both Voelviel and Wemmershoek also experienced marginal gains: 0.1% and 1.6% respectively.

Cape Town rainfall levels august 2017

The City laments ongoing high consumption

While the increases are notable and should be celebrated, Cape Town’s water consumption remains over the City’s threshold.

For the first time this year, the city’s resident have used less than 635-million litres per day, but that’s still well above the city’s 500-million target.

Consumption remains far too high, exacerbated by the warmer weather and associated evaporation,” the City notes in a press release.

Consumption is at 632 million litres of collective use per day – this is 132 million litres above the target of 500 million litres. This target has been carefully worked out to ensure that we build up our reserves during winter and that we are carried through to the next winter season.”

While there is a cold front set to grace Cape Town Thursday and Friday, mayoral councillor for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg explains that the City is “carrying on with [its] efforts to forcibly restrict excessive water usage“.

We are in an unprecedented situation. This drought is far more severe and protracted than anyone foresaw and rainfall probability remains uncertain,” she concludes.

Feature image: Theewaterskloof Dam, 2016, Ian Barnes via Flickr (CC BY 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker, former editor


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