Cape Town dams

Breede River, July 2018. (Neels Venter / Reenval SA)

Cape Town dams: For the first time since April, water levels have dropped

The 0.1% decrease was to be expected, after weeks of dry and warm weather in the Cape.

Cape Town dams

Breede River, July 2018. (Neels Venter / Reenval SA)

The Mother City is not out of the woods yet. A dry July has had an effect – albeit a minor one – on the Cape Town dams and their water levels.

At the start of the week, the combined average total for the dam facilities servicing Cape Town stood at 56.8%. Following the midweek update, that number has dropped a fraction to 56.7%.

Perhaps on its own, that 0.1% decrease is nothing to write home about. But given that this is the first time in over three months that we’ve reported a drop in the dam levels – in either a weekly or midweek context – it’s something to take notice of.

Cape Town dams: Water levels for August 2018

These are the midweek Cape Town dams figures recorded 72 hours after the weekly data was announced. They now stand at an average of 56.7% full (COCT).
However, things looked slightly better earlier this week, where the water levels averaged 56.8% (COCT).

Theewaterskloof has held steady at 42%, and Berg River also maintained its 86.4% reading. Voelvlei even ended up gaining 0.5% over the last few days.

However, Wemmershoek (-0.4%) and both Steenbras dams (-3.5% in total) suffered losses over the same period of time.

Is this a bad sign?

A reading like this doesn’t mean that the Cape Town dams are going backwards, however. They have been extremely resilient in recent weeks and relief could soon be on its way.

A smattering of rain is due over the weekend before a second cold front makes its way inland on Tuesday. The Cape has had to wait weeks for a proper winter storm and even saw one that was forecast amount to nothing last week.

This is hardly a disaster for the city, but it should certainly serve as a reminder for Capetonians. The battle is not won after a few good weeks. Unreliable weather patterns mean that only reduced consumption and water-wise savings can pull Cape Town away from the threat of day zero for good.