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Water restrictions to be reviewed only after rainy season

Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam in the system, has risen to 34.15%, compared to 19.24% at the same time last year. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam in the system, has risen to 34.15%, compared to 19.24% at the same time last year. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 4, 2018

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The Department of Water and Sanitation said relaxing water restrictions would be reviewed only when the rainy season is over, or when dam levels reach at least 85%.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said this in response to deputy mayor Ian Neilson’s statement that the City hoped to reduce the current restrictions in the near future, but that the decision was dependent on national government.

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Neilson said this week that the City believed current conditions warrant a relaxation of restrictions.

Ratau said it was still too early for such suggestions. “The continued monitoring of the rainfall and dam levels might indicate a revision at some point, maybe even earlier than the hydrological cycle.

“The need for continued, wise use of the resource still remains. “Water conservation and relevant water demand management are the first steps towards the required recovery. The restrictions as gazetted by DWS still stand.

“The point of view of the department is that there will be a review of the restrictions based on either the dam levels reaching at least 85% of provincial capacity, or at the stipulated hydrological cycle as at end of September beginning of October.

“While it is true that the recent rains have been a positive sign, as at the determinations of July 2 the provincial average is still only at about 41.5%.”

The average water consumption for the past week has reached a record low of 481 million litres per day and dam levels have improved by 5.6% to 48.3% of storage capacity.

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Neilson said Cape Town must continue to build a water buffer for the summer ahead and to help dams recover from the drought.

“Any decision by the City of Cape Town to lower current water restrictions and thus the tariffs associated with them is dependent on national government relaxing the restriction on water releases from the dams. The City believes that current conditions warrant a relaxation of restrictions.”

The local government department this week said major dams in the province have all increased by more than 5%: the Berg River Dam has received 159mm of rain over the past seven days while the Theewaterskloof Dam has had 51mm in the period.

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The average level for dams across the Western Cape is 41.5% (2017: 23.6%).

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