Western Cape dam levels dropping, despite rains

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Cape Town – Despite some rainfall over the long weekend, the Western Cape Water Supply System’s six dams that mainly serve the City of Cape Town has decreased from 18,3% to 17,7%.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), the system was at 24,4% at the same time last year.
“Theewaterskloof Dam continues on a week-on-week downward slide from 10,4% to 10,3%. Last year at the same time the dam was at 21,1%,” DWS said in a statement, after Cape Town, unlike most parts of the country, experienced insignificant rains last week.
“Clanwilliam is the only dam that registered some improvement from 6,2% to 6,4%, while Voëlvlei remains stagnant at 14,5%.”
Other parts of South Africa were more fortunate. The weekly report by the DWS has indicated that recent rainfall has led to the overflow of several dams across the country over the past two weeks.
“The gentle rain across the country was enough to soak the soil and replenish groundwater for basic use,” the DWS said.
“Improvements in the past two weeks have been noticed in most provinces, namely Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.”
The report also showed that national average dam levels have increased significantly from 70,5% last week to 75,2% this week.
Last month, the country’s water crisis was declared a national disaster by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize.
In his statement, Mkhize mentioned actions that will be taken by the government to ensure heightened drought interventions across the country. This includes the “War on Leaks” programme where communities report all the water leaks and municipalities must act by repairing the leaking pipes.
Even though dam levels are still dropping, Cape Town’s Day Zero, when taps in the city run dry and people have to start queuing for water, has been pushed back to 2019 from August of this year. However, Level 6b water restrictions are still in effect, which requires all residents to drop their daily water use to 50 litres pp/day or less.
There were also accusations by National Freedom Party (NFP) MP Ahmed Shaik Emam that the Democratic Alliance (DA) created Cape Town’s water crisis. He claimed the DA manipulated tender processes so that they could award a R6 billion contract to the Israeli government.