Cape Town - Cape Town is moving out of immediate water crisis territory, but water restrictions will only be lifted once the city’s dams reach 85% storage levels.

Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy Xanthea Limberg said the dams storage levels were much improved and the scenario was changing.

“With that being said, the lessons of adaptation we have learnt during this severe drought have made us understand what it means to live in a water-scarce region, and accepting that the new normal is a way of life is what will see us achieve true resilience and sustainability.”

She said what Cape Town’s residents and government had done in two years to reduce consumption was amazing.

“We are increasingly being recognised internationally as a leader in demand management and conservation and we should not let the good work that we have all done flow down the drain. Keep on saving,” Limberg said.

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“Water demand management and conservation remains vital. We are only about halfway through the winter rainfall season and further assessments must be made at the end of the hydrological year. Restrictions remain in place.”

Last year, then minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said water restrictions would remain in place until the Western Cape dams are 85% full.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell earlier this week said the sustained winter rainfall had seen dam levels in the Western Cape continue to rise.

He said the average level for dams across the Western Cape for the week starting June 25 is 36.3% compared to 22.8% last year. Last week at this time the level was 31.5%.

Bredell also said the dams feeding the City of Cape Town were better off, at 42.3% compared to the 24.2% that was recorded in last year. He said that over the past week these dam levels increased by 4.5% and urged the public to avoid becoming complacent about water use.

“The drought is not over and the dams are still quite low, despite the very welcome relief and continued increases. We must continue to adhere to water restrictions and reduce water demand.

“The lower water usage patterns we’ve been seeing over the past year must be the new normal,” he said.

Cape Argus