The water level of the Theewaterskloof Dam - the largest reservoir for drinking water in the Mother City - sits at 36.8%, compared to 54.8% during the same period last year. Photo: Ian Landsberg
Cape Town - The severe water shortage in the Western Cape has worsened with the Department of Water and Sanitation on Monday disclosing dam levels had dropped below 40%.

Just last week, the dam levels in the Western Cape were at 41% compared to 48% over the same period last year. MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell said despite the hard work being done to reduce consumption, water use remains high and dam levels are falling fast.

“It is massively concerning to see dam levels on average at 39.4%. We are still some way off from our rainy season and therefore, once more, call on consumers to assist us in using water responsibly.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and municipalities are implementing additional measures including restrictions and tariff increases where necessary.”

Bredell said the water situation in the Western Cape was not yet at a crisis level in spite of some areas having been declared disaster areas over the past year.

Escalating the City of Cape Town’s restrictions seems to have done little to curb water consumption despite billing offenders R33 million collectively since Level 3 restrictions were implemented on November 1.

The restrictions were put in place to cap water consumption at 800 million litres a day.

Raising the restrictions to Level 3B would be discussed at full council on Thursday, January 26.

Mayoral committee member for water services Xanthea Limberg previously said the City had no other option but to tighten water restrictions.

If approved, they would include more stringent conditions on the use of drinking water for watering gardens, she said last week. A few of the dams are currently below 40% full this week with the Breede River dam at 38%, with the lowest reading of 25.75% recorded in the Gouritz River Catchment. City spokesperson Priya Reddy previously stated should excessive water consumption continue, the dam levels could reach 20% by May.

“According to our projections, dam levels may reach 20% if current rates of water extraction continue. This will result in a low margin of safety, as it is difficult to extract the last 10% of a dam’s volume.”

Residents can report contravention of water restrictions by e-mailing [email protected] 

[email protected]

Cape Argus