Cape Town – The Oudtshoorn Municipality’s disaster management has warned of a scorching week in the region, with temperatures expected to reach 47°C.
Temperatures yesterday reached close to 38°C and are expected to reach as high as 40°C today. Conditions are set to peak tomorrow, with temperatures between 42°C and 47°C.
A high of 29°C has been predicted for Friday, with possible rainfall.
“A total fire ban is in effect for the greater Oudtshoorn municipal area. During this time, please be careful with making open fires.
"No controlled burning is allowed during this week, including refuse areas on farms, as the predicted weather conditions may lead to runaway veld fires,” the department said.
In the Dr Beyers Naudé Municipality, the dam supplying Graaff-Reinet has run dry and the town’s only source of water supply is boreholes.
Exacerbating matters, according to municipality spokesperson Edwardine Abader, was a telemetry system damaged by lightning last week, and none of the boreholes were operational.
“The problem has thus been resolved. However, during that time water interruptions occurred within the town,” Abader said.
“Due to the drought, the current supply of water does not meet the demand; as a result, high-lying areas within the town are mostly affected with water interruptions.”
The municipality has received assistance from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The average dam level for the Western Cape is 53.9%, a marginal improvement on last year for the same period when the level was 51.2%.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said continued early weather predictions for 2020 indicated that the season ahead may not experience the rainfall needed in all regions.
“This means we continue to proactively urge communities across the entire province to use water responsibly. We need to permanently reduce our water use as the resource is finite and demand keeps increasing.
“We continue to be most concerned about the Karoo region of the province where the Gouritz River catchment sees average dam levels of only 15.5% at the moment, despite recent rainfall in the region.
“The area continues to rely largely on groundwater for drinking and presently all communities still have sufficient drinking water.
“Farmers there continue to be most affected and we urge them to contact the provincial Department of Agriculture for assistance,” Bredell said.