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Dam levels remain critical as Cape water usage spikes

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Johannesburg – The City of Cape Town on Monday, advised residents to continue their water-saving efforts after the water consumption increased and was 40 million litres above the daily usage target.

The City said that the dam storage levels were at 23.1 percent but that the last 10 percent of the dam’s water was mostly unusable, so the dam levels were effectively at 13.1 percent.

“Due to the severity of the drought, above-target consumption, as well as the unpredictability of climatic conditions, Level 4 water restrictions remain in place indefinitely over the long-term and could be intensified if warranted,” the City said.

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Theewaterskloof dam photographed from the air at the beginning of May. Picture: Water from Air

“Members of the public are advised not to relax their water-saving efforts. Since 6 June 2017, when the recent big storm made landfall, and including subsequent spells of rain, dam levels have only increased by about 3.7 percent. Clearly, the drought crisis continues as dam levels are critically lower than usual at the start of the winter.”

The City said it appealed to the courts for “tougher action” to assist with the tackling non-compliance of Level 4 restrictions.

The City negotiated the maximum spot fine for a contravention to be raised to R10,000 or even a prison sentence for serious or repeat offences as per the new fine schedule for Level 4 restrictions.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg said apart from safeguarding the current sustainability, Cape Town residents need to think about building an additional reserve capacityby continuing with the most hard-hitting water-saving efforts.

“It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and we must bear in mind that we are expecting an even tougher summer in 2018. All consumers must continue to use less than 100 litres per person per day in total, whether at work, home, school or elsewhere,” Limberg said.

The City’s Water Resilience Task Team has been set up to boost the City’s response to drought, to ensure that acute water shortages are avoided.

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