Western Cape MEC concerned over decrease in dam levels
Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell has raised concern over the a relative dry start to the rain season in the province. Statistics from the Department of Water and Sanitation reveal that dam levels are substantially lower than the same time last year
Currently, Western Cape dam levels are 63.6% full, compared to 76.6% a year ago.
Dams supplying the City of Cape Town which includes Wemmershoek, Voëlvlei, Steenbras Upper and Lower, Theewaterskloof and Berg River Dams, are currently at a combined level of 75.42%. At the same time last year, dams in the metro were at 97.53%. According to data from the City of Cape Town, daily water uses for the City as measured on the 25th of July stood at 768 million liter per day.
According to a Provincial Disaster Management Report to the Western Cape Cabinet, below normal rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures were experienced during the first half of the Western Cape’s traditional rainfall season. The report suggests that below-normal rainfall may lead to water scarcity in the Province should the conditions persist throughout the winter rainfall season. The Western Cape’s traditional rain season is from May to August.
“In the absence of prolonged and widespread rain, our only available strategy is to use less water and allow the rain that we do get to fill up our dams as much as possible,” Bredell said.
Bredell said municipalities must ensure that leaks from storage dams and water distribution networks are kept to an absolute minimum, as this can also contribute to saving water. He added the role of alien plant infestation in catchment areas should also not be underestimated in our strategies to be more water secure in the Western Cape.
“The Greater Cape Town Water Fund, run initially by The Nature Conservancy, calculated that water lost to the Western Cape through invasive alien infestation amounts to 55 billion litres per year. Alien clearing programmes are essential to our future water security in the Province,” Bredell said.
According to the South African Weather Services, predictions for the next few months indicate a strong likelihood for continued below-normal rainfall, although the possibility of a few strong cold fronts cannot be excluded.
Bredell said The Department of Water and Sanitation, in consultation with the Western Cape Government will assess water availability at the end of October to decide if water restrictions will be implemented for the following year.
Done by: Mitchum George