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
|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%|
|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.