Cape Town’s dams already a fra

Theewaterskloof Dam on 24 April 2018. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks /

Cape Town’s dams already a fraction fuller compared to 2017

But that tells just half the story.

Cape Town’s dams already a fra

Theewaterskloof Dam on 24 April 2018. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks /

At the time of writing, it was absolutely bucketing down in Cape Town. Great news for early winter rains – May has been good for rain so far.

Even better news is that at the start of the week – before this deluge – the Western Cape dams were already a fraction fuller compared to this time last year.

According to the official dam levels, Cape Town’s total dam levels on 21 May 2018 were sitting at 21.1% – that’s down from the previous week at 21.4%, but slightly better than 2017 when the dams were at 20.7%.

Things get grim when you go further back in time, though. In 2016, the dams were at 30.6%, 2015 they were at 49.4% and in 2014 at 71.9%.

The bad news is some of the province’s biggest dams – including the Theewaterskloof dam – is still at a much lower level compared to 2017.

The latest data shows that before Thursday’s rains, the dam was just 11.83% full, compared to 14.14% last year. In the seven days prior to that reading (taken on 21 May 2018), there was 20mm of rain in the region. Good – but not great.

Some of the water augmentation systems are now starting to come alive, too, but the water crisis in the region is far from over, however, there is some cause for optimism.

A key difference between 2018 and 2017 is that most of the city’s residents are aware of the crisis and have been using a lot less water. If you’re not – you better start.

That usage is fluctuating quite dramatically, but it is lower than the year before.

While day zero has been pushed out to 2019 it will take a combination of stringent water saving and heavy winter rains to get Cape Town in a good position.

The moral of the full dams story is: do not be fooled by the rains – there is a long way to go to get Cape Town out of its crisis.