Knysna water status changes to 'moderate' + Western Cape drought areas mapped

2018-02-22 08:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - While Capetonians celebrate as Day Zero gets extended to 9 July, the popular tourist town of Knysna on the scenic Garden Route has changed its water status from "severe" to "moderate".

According to Knysna Tourism, the town's status regarding water restrictions on the Western Cape map, which appears on the Western Cape Water Wise Tourism website, has been changed from “Severe Water Restrictions” to “Moderate Water Restrictions”.

ALSO SEE: Follow News24's special report on the water crisis here.

"This more accurately reflects the situation in Knysna where Level 3 water restrictions are in place to ensure the security of water for all users," says Knysna Tourism.

While this is good news for both tourist areas, the drought is far from over with dams still at low levels and rain forecasts remain at a minimum. See the latest weather report here.

Level 6B restrictions are still in place in Cape Town, meaning all residents and visitors are restricted to 50 litres of water per person per day. The latest data from the City of Cape Town indicates that dam storage level is at 24.4%. This is a weekly decrease of 0.5%. The week's average daily production of all water sources was at 523Ml/day, which is still above the target of 450Ml. 

ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: New water tool tracks usage by suburbs in Cape Town

Affect on tourism

"While we are not as severely affected by the drought as other parts of the Western Cape, we should continue to encourage residents and visitors to be conscious of our limited water resources," says Knysna Tourism, adding that it is vital to ensure that water shortage does not negatively impact tourism.

Knysna Tourism encourages business and leisure travellers to visit the area, saying that "We must ensure that tourists continue to visit our region and that events and conferences go ahead".

ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Cancellations for Cape Town 'affects tourism across SA'

James Vos MP, Shadow Minister of Tourism reaffirms that tourism is one of the best performing sectors in SA’s economy. "We have a strong competitive advantage in tourism with global growth in outbound tourism and our favourable exchange rate, presenting us with a magnificent window of opportunity," he says.

“Western Cape is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. This is as a result of a focused approach to growing tourism through facilitating a flow of private sector investment in the hospitality sector," adds Vos.

According to Wesgro, international tourists make up only 1% of Cape Town's population during peak season, but support more than 300 000 jobs.

MUST-SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Tourism businesses must prepare to be water shortage 'guinea pigs' for global responsible tourism

SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona says that the attitude of tourists regarding holiday cancellations are not only for Cape Town, but affect other regions and provinces that have no water crisis – such as Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. He says that the tourism industry needs to recognise that Day Zero is not only Cape Town’s problem.

Wesgro CEO Tim Harris reminds tourists and the industry that there is a “limited region affected by the drought” in the Western Cape, and in tourist places such as Overberg there aren’t any water restrictions. He adds that tourists visiting Cape Town must "come and enjoy Cape Town but be mindful of the drought”.

See the map below for the water shortage status in various regions of the Western Cape:

(Source: Western Cape Water Wise Tourism).

NB: Submit your #WaterCrisis ideas, handy hints and tip-offs here

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