Water levels in the Western Cape dams have been on the rise since May, with significant rainfall filling them up from six weeks ago. Total dam storage capacity sits at just over 43% full, with two more months of the rainfall still expected .
This much-welcomed winter rainfall has replenished the City’s water resources enough to build confidence that Day Zero will not be reached in 2019.
At the end of winter last year, dam levels were at 38%, with the City’s residents consuming an average total of 600-million litres per day.
“Having analysed this new data, we are now in a position to state that not only have we managed to avoid Day Zero this year, but we will also safely get through summer in 2019,” said Ian Neilson, City of Cape Town Deputy Mayor. “This is due to the amount of water already in the dams, our intense water demand management programs, our unrelenting communication, awareness and the behavioural change it has effected over the past two years, as well as the continued support and sacrifice of Team Cape Town.”
Neilson said that the City’s residents have proven that they are abled to pull together and work towards a common goal.
“We would again like to thank all Capetonians for their enormous water conservation effort this past summer. It was our combined effort that ensured that we got through the summer without running out of water.”
The Deputy Mayor is aware of how difficult it’s been for both private businesses and residences to operate under the level 6B water restrictions, and thanked those who saved water and make sacrifices.
“We hope that continued rains will enable a progressive reduction in the stress felt by all.”
While the City hopes to reduce the level 6B water restrictions as well as its associated tariffs in the near future, National Government has not yet decided to relax the restriction of water. If the National Department of Water and Sanitation does decide to relax water restrictions, the city expects to be in a better position to proceed with a stepped reduction of water restrictions and tariffs.
The rainfall received in 2017 was the lowest rainfall ever received by Cape Town. This recorded rainfall was only 40% of the estimated long-term average, and resulted in a substantial decline in the levels of six large dams that supply water to Cape Town, as well as its surrounding municipalities and agriculture.
By the end of summer, the City’s dams had bottomed out at 20%, which is just 7% above the level that necessitated water restrictions of just 25 litres per person per day.
“After some six weeks of good rain, we are now in a more favourable position that enables us to recalibrate our future projections and to make a much more accurate forecast for 2019,” Neilson said. “Based on this information, and provided that adequate water restrictions are maintained, we are now confident that there will be no prospect of reaching Day Zero in 2019.”
Neilson has requested a meeting with the National Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, to discuss the lifting of the current water restrictions and water tariffs, as well as other matters of water resilience.
“Until such time as we are able to reassess our situation, let us all therefore continue to implement these changes and keep saving water,” he said.