Cape Town’s hot, dry July means 6B water restrictions will continue

cape town dam brandvlei dam August 2017

Another hot, dry and precipitation-scarce week hasn’t had much of an impact on Cape Town’s dam levels, this according to the City’s latest report.

Surprisingly, even though not a drop of rain was recorded at any of the City’s monitored stations, dam levels continued to rise.

As of 23 July, the city’s dam levels stand at 56.4% or 506-billion litres. That’s an increase of 1.3% over the previous week, or 12-billion litres.

Dam by dam breakdown:

  • Theewaterskloof Dam | +1% to 41.7%
  • Voëlvlei Dam | +2.3% to 56.9%
  • Berg River Dam | +1.2% to 85.9%
  • Wemmershoek Dam | -0.1% to 84.8%
  • Steenbras Lower Dam | +1.3% to 57.2%
  • Steenbras Upper Dam | +4.4% to 101.4%

The Theewaterskloof Dam is a prime example. It jumped 1% to 41.7% over the previous week. It’s now just 2% under its 2016 levels, but trails by more than 60% behind 2014’s.

The Voëlvlei Dam is continuing its remarkable recovery. It’s 56.9% full at present, gaining 2.3% over the previous week. The Cape’s most northerly dam is currently enjoying its most bountiful July since 2014.

Cape Town’s third-largest dam, the Berg River, is up by 1.2% to 85.9%. It too is besting its 2015 levels, and is more than double as full now as it was last year.

Surprisingly, the Wemmershoek Dam has recorded its first dip of the winter, dropping just 0.1% to 84.8%.

And finally, the Steenbras Lower and Upper dams both gained this week. The neighbouring dams gained 1.3% and 4.4% respectively, with the latter now at 101.4% full.

No rainfall, increased consumption

Notably, the gains come in spite of the dry July experienced thus far. This has however resulted in a spike of water consumption.

36-million litres per day more were used over the course of the past week by the city’s residents, jumping to 530-million litres per day.

Although concerted water-saving efforts by the City and residents are still visibly under way, the influence of a warm week and an especially hot and windy weekend can clearly be seen in the water consumption data for the past week,” the City wrote in a statement.

This, in addition, will also have an effect on the relaxation of the water restrictions.

Due to the lack of rainfall over the past two weeks and the lower prospects over the coming weeks, it was decided that it was not appropriate to relax restrictions yet. The situation will again be assessed in August,” remarked deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

Water restrictions for the City of Cape Town are currently at level 6B.

Western Cape’s dams

Further afield, some the province’s interior dams aren’t receiving the rainfall Cape Town has seen this winter.

The provincial average currently stands at 48.9%.

As of 23 July, Worcester’s Brandvlei Dam is just 36.6% full (albeit, more than 10% more full this year than last). Beaufort West’s Gamka Dam remains completely empty, and the neighouring Leeu-Gamka Dam is just 10.3% full.

Closer to the coast, prospects are improving.

Swellendam’s Buffeljags Dam is 94% full, while George’s Garden Route Dam is at 78.4% this week. It was just 46% full at the same point last year.

Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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