Cape Town dams

Theewaterskloof dam, August 2018 – (Tony Georgiou / ReenvalSA / Twitter)

Cape Town dams: Joy for locals as water levels break the 60% mark

Well, who saw this coming four months ago? The Cape Town dams continue their upwards surge on the road to recovery.

Cape Town dams

Theewaterskloof dam, August 2018 – (Tony Georgiou / ReenvalSA / Twitter)

The Cape Town dams have reached a significant milestone in their battle against day zero, as recent downpours in the area carried the figures above the 60% mark.

This is the first time in over 18 months that all dams servicing the drought-stricken Mother City have reached this combined landmark. Despite a dry July and modest start to August, the water reserves have shown a great deal of resilience to carry on with this turnaround.

Cape Town dams: Water levels for Monday 20 August

Cape Town dams

Official data released by the City of Cape Town has the average water levels of the dams standing at 60.1%. There were significant increases for the Steenbras Lower (+8%), Berg River (+1.7%) and Theewaterskloof dams (+0.8%).

Western Cape dam levels,  August 2018

There is also more success for the Clanwilliam dam, which has maintained its 99% full reading. Considering the facility was at just 6% of its capacity earlier in the year, it’s been an incredible turnaround.

Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says increased rainfall over the past few months has provided some relief. However, he also cautioned that much more has to be done both in and out of the Cape metropole:

“The province’s biggest dams are still not filling up as fast as we may have hoped, to levels we can be really happy about. There are improvements, but the notable exception is the Gouritz River catchment area where the current levels of 18% are way off the levels of 45% seen in 2016.”

“The system remains vulnerable and demand is sure to pick up in the coming summer months, so we continue to urge frugal water usage moving forward.”

When will it rain again in Cape Town?

The rest of the week looks fairly dry for the Cape, but relief is on its way. The Ventusky forecast is predicting a large deluge on Saturday night.

Capetonians are still advised to use just 50 litres of water per person, per day. This could very much be a limit that’s here to stay, as well. Department officials have indicated that restrictions would only be lifted if the Cape Town dams reach between 80-85%.

Given that there are only 10 days of winter left, and that the region’s wet and rainy season is drawing to a close, that 20% isn’t going to literally fall from the sky – barring a miracle of biblical proportions.