Despite heavy rains, CoCT says it’s too soon to relax Level 3 restrictions

Cape Town – With more rain on the way, things are looking up for the city and province’s dam levels, but the City said it still too early to lower the current Level 3 water restrictions.

Cape Town’s dams are on average 72% full after some heavy downpours over the last seven days.

The latest average dam levels across the province is 56.6% (2018: 50.5%), according to the Western Cape government dam statistics.

Forecaster from Cape Town Weather Office Matshidiso Mogale said that a cold front was expected to move through the south-western parts this morning, resulting in rain over the western parts of the Western and Northern Cape.

“The amount of weather systems resulting in significant rainfall have increased compared to July 2018, and it is therefore wetter this year.”

National spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, said: “This year, there has been much better rainfall compared to last year, which has had a big impact on our dam levels.

“In terms of saving water, the public have definitely been influenced in the way they treat water since 2017.”

Ratau said that the issue of water conservation remained critical.

“The rising dam levels should not cause us to become less conscious over how we use water because the dam levels are still not at an abundant level in which we would like to see,” he added.

According to the City of Cape Town, the metro’s water consumption for the past week (July 22-28, 2019) is at 550m/l per day and last week’s consumption was at 583m/l per day.

The metro’s collective water consumption for the past week has decreased by 33 million litres per day.

City’s mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said: “With more rain predicted over the next few days, all indications are that this upward trend will continue at least for this week.

“Although the outlook seems quite positive for now, we are not yet in a position where we can safely relax our water-savings efforts.

“We will only be able to make an informed decision around water restrictions at the end of the rainy season in October/November this year.”

Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell said: “Four of the five major catchment areas now see dam levels in excess of 50% full.

“The ongoing problem area is the Gouritz River catchment area, which feeds a big part of the interior Karoo region.

“We remain concerned regarding the ongoing drought challenge, particularly to the agricultural sector in this region.”

Ratau said we may be getting a lot of rain, “however we need to keep in mind that we have already passed mid-winter season and a lot less rainfall can be expected over the upcoming months”.

“We still remain one of the most water-scarce countries, therefore we always need to remain conscious about how much water we use,” added Ratau.

Article by Cape Argus