Above average winter rainfall has replenished Western Cape water sources – Bredell
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Cape Town - Local Government and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell said the winter rainfall has been above average and has seen the continued replenishment of water sources across most of the province.
In the weekly dam report, Bredell said the latest average level for dams in the Western Cape is 76.6%. A year ago it was 61.1%. Meanwhile the latest average level for dams providing water to the City of Cape Town is 97.5%, which is 20% more than a year ago.
At the same time, the Department of Water and Sanitation national spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said this week’s hydrological report demonstrates that dams in the Western Cape have improved as a consequence of recent heavy rains.
He said the Gouritz River Catchment, which includes large parts of the Karoo, remains a concern, with average dam levels below 30% for the last three years.
Only two dams in the Western Cape saw an increase of over 5%, and these are the Keerom and Miertjeskraal dams.
A significant increase is evident in the overflowing of Theewaterskloof, the largest dam in the Western Cape, at 102.3% – a notable increase as compared to the 73% at the same time last year.
Ratau said: "There is still snow on some mountains and we are hoping that the run-off from the snow will further recharge the dams."
He commended municipalities such as Oudtshoorn for instituting water restrictions to curb excessive water use.
Bredell warned citizens to use water responsibly and to assist local councils by reporting water leaks and blocked drains as swiftly as possible.
“We urge communities not to use sewer systems for garbage disposal. Illegal dumping into sewers remains the cause of most blockages/overflows in our largest communities, including the City of Cape Town.”
Bredell said the City’s water and sanitation team clears and cleans over 300 sewer blockages and overflows a day across the metro area.
“Approximately 75% of these cases city-wide are the result of the misuse of the sewer system, where objects such as rags, builders’ rubble, litter, fats and oils are dumped into manholes or enter via sinks or are flushed down toilets. These items clog up sewer systems and can lead to spills.”
The City of Cape Town meanwhile said that the total capacity of dams supplying the Cape Town metro increased by 0.6% in the last week, from 96.9% the previous week to 97.5%.
Daily water consumption for the same period increased to 739 million litres per day, compared to 705 million litres the week before. At the same time last year, dam levels were at 77.8%.
The City added that last week, on 26 July, due to technical error in the City’s water dashboard, it was reported that dam levels stood at 97.5%, but the actual dam levels last Monday were 96.9%.
The City of Cape has apologised for the error.