Despite being 11.5% more full than last this time last year, it’s difficult not to take notice of a bruising week for the Cape Town dam levels. Almost every individual facility has experienced a decrease in its water volume, and the combined total has dropped by 1.6% in a seven-day period.

Of course, these numbers are to be expected as the warm conditions take hold of the Mother City. The advent of December gave is a few scorchers on our weather calendar, as some parts of the Western Cape saw the mercury push 40C. We’re not yet at panic stations, but this serves as a timely reminder about how the dams perform in summer.

Cape Town dam levels for Monday 9 December

The combined Cape Town dam levels have dropped from 81.7% to 80.1% this week. Of the six major dams which service the municipality, only Steenbras Upper – which is one of the smaller facilities – saw an increase in its water storage numbers. The rest of them experienced a substantial decline:

Major dams This week
(9/12/2019)
Previous week
(2/12/2019)
Weekly difference Water levels
12 months ago
Berg River 96.0% 97.5% Down 1.5% 94.7%
Steenbras Lower 89.5% 91.5% Down 2% 75.5%
Steenbras Upper 96.1% 93.1% Up 3% 72.0%
Theewaterskloof 71.5% 73.1% Down 1.6% 53.8%
Voëlvlei 85.2% 87.3% Down 2.1% 89.1%
Wemmershoek 86.6% 88.7% Down 2.1% 83.5%
Total Stored Ml 719 052 733 472 Down 1.6% 624 947
% Storage 80.1% 81.7% Down 1.6% 69.6%

How much water is being used in CPT?

Despite Voelvlei and Wemmershoek losing a similar amount of water, it’ll be Theewaterskloof’s decline that headlines this week’s readings. The 1.6% loss is a pretty significant amount for such a large facility. Given that this reserve was the poster child for the Cape Town dam levels and the “day zero” crisis of 2017, there will be a few keen eyes focused on its progress over the next few months.

Cape Town’s water usage has crept-up ever so slightly to 699 million litres per day. This is almost 8% above the set target of 650 million l/pd. Although there are no plans to reintroduce a strict water restriction regime in the Cape, a dry summer season could put the region on the back foot once more. Locals are advised to use water sparingly, and to act responsibly in a city that’s vulnerable to drought and climate change.

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Presh JM Reporter

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