Before-and-after PICS: Western Cape's Theewaterskloof Dam looks dire

2017-05-17 09:33 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - It looks like a moonscape or something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. But this is real. 

Photographer Ashraf Hendricks recently shared photos of the Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest of the Western Cape's six major dams, with GroundUp - part of a series on the Water Crisis in Cape Town

Theewaterskloof is responsible for storing more than half of Cape Town’s surface water supply, and is the most crucial of the Western Cape's water supply dams. At the moment, however, the drought is cutting into its core... 

ALSO SEE: #CapeDrought: No consensus on 2017 winter rainfall predictions but the future looks dry

When comparing Google images from the dam taken in October 2010 to Hendricks' photographs taken on 11 May 2017, the contrast is stark. And even though the images were not taken during the same time of year - one before the rainfall season and one after - there is a constant reduction in water levels over the years.

Take a look -

(Move the slider to compare the images.)  


These are some of the other photographs of the Theewaterskloof Dam taken by GroundUp in the last two years - 


Theewaterskloof Dam in June 2016. Photo: Masixole Feni


Theewaterskloof Dam in May 2017. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks


Theewaterskloof Dam in May 2017. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks


GroundUp reports that since Monday, the level of Theewaterskloof was just 15.7%, compared to close to 31.3% at the same time last year, 51.3% in 2015, and 74.5% in 2014. 

ALSO SEE: What’s causing Cape Town’s water crisis?

The annual receding water content of the Theewaterskloof dam is reflected in weather researchers' concerns. Scientists at the 2017 annual winter rainfall summit could not reach consensus on what the season ahead will look like for the Western Cape. 

They are certain, however, that not even a typical winter rainfall season will be enough to replenish the province's pressurised water supply or alleviate the drought ahead of next year's winter. 

For the more long-term future, they predict "a relatively drier future Western Cape by the 2030s to 2040s". 

READ MORE HERE: #CapeDrought: No consensus on 2017 winter rainfall predictions but the future looks dry

Further to this, according to the City of Cape Town on Monday, 15 May, overall dam levels in the Western Cape are now at 21,2%, which is 0,8% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 11,2%.

On Tuesday, 16 May, the City of Cape Town recommending to City council to elevate the status of the drought crisis and adopt Level 4 water restrictions from 1 June this year. The call came only a day after the city issued a critical warning to all water users in Cape Town to cut all non-essential use of water immediately. Read News24's story here


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