Western Cape Water crisis: 129 days of useable water left as dams dip 1.7%

2017-02-21 08:35 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
Post a comment 0

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has issued a plea to residents in the Western Cape to cut down on water consumption as dam levels have dropped to 34,5%, a further 1,7% down from a week ago. 

And, with the last 10% of a dam’s water unable to be utilized, dam levels are now effectively at 24,5%. 

At the current draw-down rate, the City warns, "we could be looking at approximately 129 days of useable water left". 

SEE: 4 SA dams' dire water levels from a bird's eye view

The latest actual consumption is 801 million litres of collective use per day. This is 101 million litres above the latest lowered water consumption target of 700 million litres per day. 

The dire report for the water crisis in the Western Cape comes as the Department of Water and Sanitation last week announced that more than half of the dams in SA have reported an increase.

The country's national water storage has gone up by 2.3% from 55.6% to 57.9% during last week, they said. While Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape showed slight decreases, overall there was a snail-pace improvement in dams. 

SEE: SA dam levels improve, but Western Cape dams still a concern

Despite the slight increase, the Department said that the "phenomenon further demonstrates that most parts of the country are still water distressed and the meagre rains we have experienced recently in some parts have not made any significant impact for us to say we are out of the woods". 

Naming and shaming

In the Western Cape, especially, these desperate times have called for desperate measures from officials. 

In an attempt to cut down the biggest water consumers in the province, the City of Cape Town has also announced that as of Monday, 20 February, the names of residents or businesses who have been issued with fines for exceeding the water consumption limits will be made public. 

READ: 10+ Super-easy tips to save water

Regular enforcement operations remain in place, in addition to the targeted engagements with the top 20 000 consumers with the highest water usage. 

Mayor De Lille and a group of area-based mayoral committee members have started personally engaging with some of the high water users who have been identified through their water accounts and January 2017 consumption. 

Level 3b water restrictions, which limit the use of potable water for non-essential purposes, are in place. 

Lowering of water pressure 

The City will consider further drastically lowering water pressure to a larger extent, they say.

"We are currently expanding the existing pressure-reducing programme. It entails maintaining constant supply where we have the infrastructure to do so, but it may result in intermittent supply in the higher areas of the supply zone. 

"Consumption patterns and dam levels over the coming weeks will determine how the pressure reduction programme will be rolled out further," they say. 

Want to know how much water you should be saving?

See this map that allows you to check the status of your province and your local dams. This data is provided by the Department of Water and Sanitation.  

What to read next on Traveller24

4 SA dams' dire water levels from a bird's eye view

SA dam levels improve, but Western Cape dams still a concern

10+ Super-easy tips to save water