Recent rain not enough to alleviate WC drought

Dam storage levels are at just over 37% with useable water at 27%.

FILE: The Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town. It is the largest of five major dams supplying drinking water to the city. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Rain over the past several days has done little to assist in alleviating the drought in the Western Cape.

Dam storage levels are at just over 37%, with usable water at 27%.

This time last year, dams were sitting at 62%.

The Western Cape Local Government Department’s James Brent-Styan says: “We’re very grateful for every bit of water we get but it just goes to show how unpredictable the weather patterns have become.

“The last three seasons of below average rainfall have certainly exacerbated matters and caused this terribly low levels for our dams.”

Last month, the City of Cape Town has announced that it will be taking a number of new actions to drive down water consumption with immediate effect, which includes level 5 water restrictions and a further increase in pressure management.

Managers of commercial properties must with immediate effect ensure that their monthly consumption of the municipal supply of water is reduced by 20% compared with a year ago.

While the 87 litres per person and the overall target of 500 million litres per day of collective consumptions remain in place, the City has placed emphasis on capping excessive water use at the domestic household level and placing additional restrictions on the commercial sector.

The City has thanked residents for their efforts to save water, but it says there needs to be a further decrease in consumption if Cape Town is to safely navigate itself through the drought.

Officials say hefty fines will be imposed on transgressors.

Additional reporting by Kevin Brandt.