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Researcher sounds alarm over CT water supply levels

A water management researcher has warned that if the City of Cape Town does not ramp up its water conservation campaign, the situation could be dire.

FILE: Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town dams could have enough water to supply Capetonians for at least 100 days.

And a water management researcher has warned that if the City of Cape Town does not ramp up its water conservation campaign, the situation could be dire.

The municipality has revealed its reservoirs are at 42.5% full but could drop to 20% in the next few months.

University of Cape Town Environmental and Geographical Sciences lecturer Kevin Winter says the situation is serious: “We can’t see any rain on the horizon. And right now, in terms of our dam storage levels, we’re probably approaching the ‘100 days left of storage’.”

The city’s Xanthea Limberg says below 20% levels pose a risk: “This is a very low margin of safety because it becomes very difficult to extract the last 10%. So we’re really encouraging residence to help us to ensure that we can save water.”

‘SEA WATER USED AS AN EXTREME MEASURE TO DOUSE FIRES’

Meanwhile, the City's Fire and Rescue Service says sea water is used as an extreme measure to douse raging fires.

Members of the public have raised concern around the thousands of litres of water being used daily to fight blazes that have erupted across the Cape and Boland region over the past few days.

Fire and Rescue spokesperson Theo Layne says: “Firefighters obtain their water from the city’s hydrants, which is potable water. But because it’s an emergency that they’re dealing with, they have to use the nearest water supply that can quickly and effectively extinguish the fire.”

Earlier on Tuesday, three helicopters were used to water-bomb a section of Table Mountain in Deer Park, Vredehoek.

Layne explains how this water is obtained: “When we use helicopters for water bombing, those helicopters obtain their water from reservoirs, dams and in extreme cases from the sea.”

Layne adds sea water causes damage to vegetation and also corrodes the mechanism inside the buckets used for water-bombing.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)