News / South Africa

Steven Tau
2 minute read
5 Jul 2017
6:00 am

Another dry year ahead for drought-stricken Western Cape

Steven Tau

Forecaster says not a lot of rain is forecast for the province in what remains of the all-important winter months.

Picture: Alaister Russell

Things are not looking good for the Western Cape on the weather front.

This as the seasonal forecast for the remainder of winter indicates below-normal rainfall for the province, which has been badly affected by a drought that has prompted authorities to implement stringent water restrictions.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, forecaster Bransby Bulo said according to the seasonal forecast, not a lot of rain was forecast for the province.

“In fact, indications are that the remainder of winter is going to be even dryer than the previous two seasons,” Bulo said.

The province experienced only one strong weather system, which brought rain in recent weeks, but left a trail of destruction in the process. The latest forecast also has the national department of water and sanitation extremely worried.

Spokesperson for the department Sputnik Ratau said this was not encouraging news, considering the fact that in both 2016 and 2015, the province received less rainfall compared with previous years.

“Our dam levels in the Western Cape are currently just hovering around 24% and 25%, a slight increase from last week’s 23%.”

The department undertook the Western Cape Water Supply System Reconciliation Strategy Study (WCWSS), which investigated a range of bulk water supply schemes that could serve towards meeting the growing water requirements that will need to be supplied from the WCWSS.

These included options such as desalination of sea water, water reuse, groundwater development and possible surface water augmentation options, along with water conservation and water demand management.

The study identified the need for augmentation of the WCWSS by 2019. During the drought which gripped and negatively affected most parts of the country last year, the department embarked on a replenishing exercise of the Vaal Dam, which had dropped to alarming levels of around 25%.

This exercise meant getting some volumes of water out of the storage reserve Sterkfontein Dam towards the end of last year, just in time before the rain finally started bucketing down.

However, there’s nothing like the Sterkfontein Dam in the Cape.