Western Cape dam levels

Cape Town’s Berg River dam is currently at over 100% capacity. Photo: Dan Meyer

Cape Town dams: Water levels up by whopping 13% thanks to heavy rain

Cape Town dams benefited enormously from the adverse weather in the Western Cape over the last week, with capacity reaching 89.2%.

Western Cape dam levels

Cape Town’s Berg River dam is currently at over 100% capacity. Photo: Dan Meyer

Dams in the Western Cape have benefited immensely from the heavy rains that have hammered the province in the last week, with dam levels up by a whopping 13.8%. After adverse weather caused chaos in Cape Town last week, a silver lining has emerged with dam levels now reaching  just over 89% of total capacity.

An intense cold front that rolled over the province last week brought with it heavy rain that led to flooding in some of Cape Town’s most vulnerable areas, but the added water security offers some relief for the province. 

Cape Town dams up by a massive 13.8% 

According to the City of Cape Town, dams in the Western Cape increased from 75,4% capacity the previous week to 89,2%. They said in a statement that daily water consumption for the same period increased to 729 million litres per day, compared to 706 million litres the week before. 

At the same time last year, dam levels were at 63,5%.

The City of Cape Town said that although water restrictions were lifted from 1 November 2020 and the recent rains and severe weather have improved water security in the Western Cape for the time being, the following regulations in the City’s Water By-law are in effect at all times:

Outdoor water use and groundwater

  • Watering only allowed before 09:00 or after 18:00
  • Automated sprinkler systems (where permitted) must be able to be correctly positioned and be able to be adjusted to prevent water wastage.
  • Hosepipes used for watering or washing vehicles, boats and caravans (when permitted) must be fitted with a controlling device such as a spray nozzle or automatic self-closing device.
  • No hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water allowed. Water users, such as abattoirs, food-processing industries, care facilities, animal shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must apply for exemption.
  • Outdoor taps, except those on residential properties, must be secured to prevent unauthorised use.
  • The City recommends that alternative water sources like boreholes and well-point water be used sparingly and efficiently.

Efficiency of taps, toilets and showers

  • The maximum flow rate of new and replaced showerheads may not exceed seven litres per minute.
  • The maximum flow rate of any tap installed at a washbasin may not exceed six litres per minute.  
  • New or replaced toilet cisterns may not exceed six litres in capacity.
  • Basins and showers provided at public facilities must be fitted with demand-type taps.

 Swimming pools

  • All swimming pools must be covered by a pool cover to avoid evaporation when not in use.
  • Automatic top up systems using a float valve fed from a municipal drinking water source to supply swimming pools and garden ponds are not allowed. 

Communities devastated by heavy rain

This news will come as little consolation for the many communities that endured severe flooding over the past week of adverse weather, having had to be assisted by the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management services over the challenging lockdown period. 

The Cape Town Transport Department provided sand and milling where it is possible to do so to raise floor levels, and damage assessments are continuing. The agency is collaborating with SASSA to provide soft relief (meals and blankets) to identified priority areas where flooding took place, such as Belmont Park in Kraaifontein, Goedmond in Durbanville and Sonstraal Heights in Brackenfell.