The average water consumption increased by 9 million litres per day to 604 million litres per day for the past week of 14 - 20 January 2019. File image: IOL.

Cape Town - The levels of the dams which supply Cape Town have declined by 1,2% over the past week to 61,9% of storage capacity. This is compared to dam levels of 27,3% at the same time last year.

The average water consumption increased by 9 million litres per day to 604 million litres per day for the past week of 14 - 20 January 2019.

 The overall average dam level in the Western Cape is currently 49.6% (2018: 25.2%).

For more context: on 23 January 2017 the average level was 39.4% for the province and 39.9% for the dams supplying Cape Town.

The Theewaterskloof dam is currently at 47.4% (2018:13.9%); Voëlvlei Dam is at 78.4% (2018: 18.7%), Berg River dam is at 85.1% (2018: 53.9%) and Clanwilliam Dam is 57.6% (2018: 18.4%).

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, says the drought in the Karoo remains very serious but multiple projects remain on the go to ensure communities continue to have access to drinking water.

“The province has several ongoing projects across the region and has stepped in at the Kannaland municipality in the past ten days to assist in the rehabilitation of the Calitzdorp Water Treatment plant. The plant was not adequately maintained and the water quality was poor. Accordingly the provincial government and officials from neighbouring municipalities including Oudtshoorn, stepped in to rehabilitate the plant.”

Bredell says the community of Zoar in the Kannaland region experienced short term water challenges over the weekend. 

“This happens when demand exceeds supply and the reservoirs run dry due to groundwater taking a while to replenish the tanks. It remains critical that the small towns in the Karoo’s water supply gets managed carefully, conscientiously and on a daily basis to ensure reservoirs do not run dry. We remain in consultation with the Kannaland council in this regard," he said.

"Regarding alleviation as an interim measure, the District Municipality has already placed seven water tankers in Zoar to provide water, tankers where the community can collect water until the reservoirs have been replenished from the groundwater.”

Bredell says that a delegation from the department that visited the area found that water consumption in the Zoar community is unacceptably high.

“The Zoar region currently uses 170 litres of water per person per day. The community has been urged to reduce consumption to 50l per person per day. Work in Laingsburg and Beaufort West is also continuing. The department has several experts on a fulltime basis in the area to address concerns.”

Bredell has repeated his call that any community or institution that receives a call for help or has a water challenge, to please contact the provincial disaster management centre as well as the local and district municipality directly. The emergency number is 112.

“The Department of Local Government through the provincial disaster management centre continues to coordinate all relief efforts across the province. We must again repeat that there is a serious water challenge in the Karoo but to date no community has run out of water and many areas are still getting water from groundwater sources. The province has multiple contingencies in place that have not yet failed.”

Picture: Supplied

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Cape Argus