In graphs: Cape Town dams 24.4% full as water usage spikes

water tap stock cape town dam

Although #DayZero has largely fell to the wayside this week in the wake of SONA 2018, Cape Town is still in the midst of a drought. But judging by the City of Cape Town’s latest dam report, it seems that the situation is beginning to stabilise.

After #DayZero was pushed back last week to 4 June giving Capetonians more than a 100 day buffer before the taps are set to be shuttered, dam levels are now dropping more slowly than we’ve seen previously this year.

The collective Big Six dam storage level — which includes the Theewaterskloof, Voëlvlei, Berg River, Wemmershoek, Steenbras Lower and Steenbras Upper dams — dropped by just 0.5% this past week to 24.4%.

Data provided by the City of Cape Town

This doesn’t mean the crisis is completely over though. Cape Town’s two largest dams remain less than 20% full.

The Theewaterskloof is now just 11.3% full, down by 0.7% over the previous week. The Voëlvlei dropped by the same amount, and is now at 16.6%. The below video, captured by YouTube channel Zoomlenz Photography, demonstrates just how empty the system’s northernmost dam really is.

Bucking the trend slightly is the Berg River Dam, dropping just 0.1% over the previous week, and still holds more water within its walls at present than it did in 2016 and 2017 levels. It’s also Cape Town’s most bountiful dam at present, holding more water than both the Theewaterskloof and Voëlvlei dams.

In the Helderberg, the Steenbras Upper Dam is much healthier this week, gleaming at a 4.2% increase to its reserves. Its larger Lower companion however dropped by 1.8% to 39%.

And finally, the Wemmershoek Dam fell by 1.5% this past week to 47.5%.

Data provided by the City of Cape Town. Note the total capacity when all dams are full is 898 221 ML.

Water consumption remains an issue, Cape Town

The steep decline in water consumption was largely due to decreased agricultural usage. As of 19 February, farms are using just 10% of the current total water production. In early January, this figure was closer to 50%.

Average daily production from all water sources across Cape Town however, still amounted to 523-million litres per day, up from the 505-million litres the City recorded last Friday. More importantly, consumption of water from the city’s Big Six dams has increased by more than 30-million litres over the past week. This suggests that residents are using more water, even if farms are not.

Perhaps the deputy mayor’s praise was a bit preemptive?

Data provided by the City of Cape Town

Have no idea what #DayZero is? Still panicking about the day the city’s taps will be switched off? Chill, Memeburn has you covered with our comprehensive guide to #DayZero.

Feature image: webandi via Pixabay (CC0)

Andy Walker, former editor


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