At the end of the fifth month of 2018, Cape Town finally has some positive water-related news.
As of 28 May 2018, total dam levels stand at 24% full. That’s still low, sure, but its marks an increase of 2.9% over the previous week. In terms of raw volume, that’s more than 26 000 megalitres or slightly less than the Steenbras Upper dam’s total capacity when full.
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At the current consumption rate of 505-million litres per day, that’s enough water to last the city for more than seven weeks.
This week, all six of Cape Town’s major dams and all eight of its minor reservoirs have seen an increase to their reserves.
The Theewaterskloof Dam is now up to 14.9%, gaining 2.8% over the previous week. Cape Town’s two other larger dams, the Voëlvlei and Berg River also gained massively. The former saw an increase of 2.5%, while the latter gained 4.3% over the previous week.
The Wemmershoek Dam, tucked away in the Franschhoek mountains, saw a 3.2% increase over the previous week and now stands at 50.6% full. he Steenbras duo also saw increases. The Lower dam is up by 0.2% over the previous week, but the Upper dam is now at 60% full, gaining 3.7% over the previous week.
This week’s gains are largely due to increased rainfall, but a closer inspection suggests that precipitation in May 2018 still lags behind the long-term averages for the month.
Only the Wemmershoek catchment area bettered its long-term average of 126mm. 151mm has fallen around the dam since the beginning of May. Notably, the Theewaterskloof Dam has only received 18mm of rain this month. It usually receives 48mm.
Nevertheless, more rain is forecast for this week across Cape Town and the mountain catchment areas.
Feature image: Steenbras Dam, June 2017, City of Cape Town