Cape Town - Dam levels in the Western Cape have increased significantly over the past week, thanks to torrential rains which have lashed the province.
Over the weekend heavy downpours caused flooding in informal settlements, including in Khayelitsha, Macassar, Philippi, Gugulethu, Kraaifontein, Atlantis and Maitland.
The rains and windy conditions had caused havoc for motorists with the Huguenot Tunnel being closed for hours due to a power failure and the Bainskloof Pass being closed due to mudslides.
Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said on Monday that major dams in the province have all increased by more than 5% in the past week.
The Berg River Dam has received 159mm of rain over the past seven days, while the Theewaterskloof Dam has had 51mm.
The average level for dams across the province is 41.5% (2017: 23.6%). Last week, the level was 36.2%. The dams feeding the City are 48.3% (2017: 24.8%).
“Areas in the Karoo, the Klein Karoo, Boesmanland and Langkloof are still waiting for relief. On a provincial level, we must continue to adhere to water restrictions and reduce water demand.
“The public is advised to contact their closest disaster management centre as quickly as possible should an emergency occur. The easiest number to remember to call in an emergency is 112. This number can be dialled toll-free from any cell phone.
“We are also calling on communities to co-operate with local authorities and emergency response personnel in the event of any emergency.”
Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) spokesman Sputnik Ratau said: “The Western Cape DWS encourages people to take precautionary measures as most areas are experiencing flooding.
“We welcome rain in the province as it is good for the water security, yet we also encourage people to take extra caution at this time.
“Levels of water in the rivers rise and this means people must be careful when crossing these rivers.”
He said following declining water levels in the dams, the department intensified some measures by decreasing the abstraction of water from the WCWSS by 45% for domestic and industries and 60% for agricultural sector.
Agricultural-use restrictions were raised from 50% to 60%. These remain in place until a review of the status is done at the looming hydrological cycle.
“The department is continually monitoring the levels of all dams in the province.
“The Western Cape receives its water primarily in winter and with this significant rain, there is hope that the dams will recharge faster.”