Cape Town water usage jumps, dam levels drop to 22.7%

Steenbras dam 27 April 2017 city of cape town Day Zero

So Cape Town… Do you want the good news or bad news first?

It’s a Monday, so let’s start with the good news.

The good news is that dam levels decreased by just 0.3% over the previous week. The bad news is that water consumption has spiked by more than 50-million litres per day compared to last Monday’s figure.

Last week Friday, deputy mayor Ian Neilson praised the City of Cape Town and its residents for its globally-recognised water saving efforts.

“Our commendable water usage is increasingly recognised as a phenomenal achievement across the world. Thanks to this effort our dam levels are declining at a lower weekly rate,” he wrote in a statement.

But this week is a major blip.

Consumption increased to 565-million litres per day compared to 506-million litres per day just 10 days ago.

It’s not clear what caused the increased consumption figure, but water was drawn from the Steenbras dams to feed its hydroelectric dam.

“Dam levels dropped more than 0.4% due to the transfer of water to the Steenbras Electrical Hydro Reservoir and will be taken into production for usage by CCT within due course,” the City wrote in its report on 14 March.

Nevertheless, dam levels are now at 22.7% — a drop of 8.3% since the beginning of the year. More tangibly, that’s a drop of nearly 75 000 ML, that’s more water than both Steenbras dams when full.

Speaking of the Steenbras Dams, both the Lower and Upper dams saw an increase this week. The former was up by 0.8% over the previous week. The Upper dam saw a modest gain of 0.2%. The increases could be credited with the 7.2mm of rain which fell over the area on 14 March — the first rainfall of the month.

The WCWSS’s largest dams both fell this week. The Theewaterskloof Dam fell by 0.2% to 10.7%, the Voëlvlei Dam fell by 0.3% to 14.8%.

The Berg River Dam saw the biggest decrease of the six large dams, tanking by 1.4% to 47.8% this week.

And finally, the Wemmershoek Dam saw a drop of just 0.1% this week.

Feature image: City of Cape Town

Andy Walker
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