Water Wednesday: Western Cape dams fill up for the first time in four years

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has reported that although the rainfall started late, there has been constant inflows into the dams on the far western and north-western boundaries of the province. Most state-owned dams in the Western Cape are currently on average 64.7% full, which is a 12% increase on last year.

The Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS), which is comprised of the six largest dams has recorded a remarkable improvement as it has reached 80% to full capacity compared to 58.44% at same time last year.

Last week’s figures showed that most dams are hovering around 80% and are likely to increase to between 90% and 100% by the end of August. Berg River Dam, which forms part of the Western Cape Integrated System, has contributed immensely to the improved water situation in the province.

Sputnik Ratau, the national spokesperson for the DWS, says the department is still concerned about the very slow recovery of the dam levels in the Breede-Gouritz Water Management Area. “The last four years have seen little to no rain within the Klein Karoo, Greater Karoo, Central Breede River and Southern Cape areas.”

According to Ratau, significant rainfall in these areas last occurred in 2011. The lower than average rainfall over the last eight years has not only contributed to the low dam levels but has also significantly impacted the declining groundwater levels and recharge within the Greater and Klein Karoo areas. Ratau further states that the fact that our dams are at present healthier than previous seasons provides an ideal opportunity to chart a way ahead with much more vigour on the goal to have equal access to water for all South Africans.

Here is your weekly dam update:

  • The Vaal River System, consisting of 14 dams serving mainly Gauteng, Sasol and Eskom, is at 89.6%.
  • The Cape Town Dam System, consisting of six dams serving mainly the City of Cape Town, is at 64.7% this week.
  • The Eastern Cape Dam System is at 56.4% while KwaZulu-Natal sits at 60.1%.

Here are the latest dam percentages throughout the country:

For a more in-depth rainfall update, visit WeatherSA or click here. For more information on the water storage levels across the country, visit the DWS site. For a comprehensive drought status report from the Department of Water and Sanitation, click here.

Source: Capricorn Review