Western Cape dam levels remain critically low

Authorities say that too many Capetonians are still not heeding warnings to save water.

FILE: This picture shows the banks of the Theewaterskloof Dam, as the Western Cape is gripped by drought. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Dam levels remain critically low and authorities reiterate that too many Capetonians are still not heeding warnings to save water.

Levels are sitting at around 36%, a vast difference compared to this time last year when they were at 62%.

The provincial local government department’s James-Brent Styan says: “We’re very concerned… we’ve reached the end of our winter rainfall season and we’re expecting a very hot, dry summer with an influx of tourists in December.

“So, we continue to call on people to use less water. We must make sure that we keep as much water in our dams as long as possible.”

Meanwhile, University of Cape Town (UCT) researchers say that harvesting stormwater may be the key to offset the current water shortage.

Researchers say the stormwater that falls on the city at the moment is managed through a network of ponds and channels.

It's then diverted into rivers and out to sea.

Civil engineer and PhD researcher John Okedi estimates that at least 15 million kilolitres of stormwater is lost annually in the Cape.

But there’s a drawback of harvesting it, as it's usually very dirty.

Additional reporting by Giovanna Gerbi.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)