News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
28 Oct 2019
5:54 pm

Western Cape dams get welcome boost thanks to recent rains

News24 Wire

However, 'there has not been any relief to the central interior region of the province, with large parts of the Karoo still in distress'.

The Berg River Dam, Western Cape. Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Dam levels across Cape Town and the Western Cape have seen an increase thanks to recent spring rains, according to officials on Monday.

Collective water consumption in Cape Town also decreased for the past week to 625 million litres per day, which was within the daily target of 650 million litres.

But the City’s mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Xanthea Limberg warned that rainfall remained below average and that residents should do what they could to conserve the precious resource.

Cape Town’s dam levels were at 82.8% following the torrential rain, up from 79.28% the previous week.

“Dams are now slightly over the 80% mark, mainly due to good water conservation by our residents. However, it has been another drier-than-average year, raising serious concern that the drastic decrease in rainfall levels we’ve recently experienced could be permanent,” said Limberg.

“As such, we are reminding residents to please remain conscious of, and responsive to, restriction levels as this will ensure the right balance between minimising inconvenience and ensuring water is available for the city to function.”

The latest average dam level for the Western Cape stood at 65.8%, compared to 64.03% the previous week.

The provincial Department of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning said dams like Theewaterskloof had seen a 4% increase over the past week.

“There has not been any relief to the central interior region of the province, with large parts of the Karoo still in distress,” it said in a statement.

The department’s MEC Anton Bredell welcomed the decision by the provincial cabinet to make an additional R50m available in emergency drought relief for farmers in drought-stricken areas.

“These funds will be allocated specifically to provide fodder support for farmers in the drought-stricken Central Karoo District, Matzikamma and Little Karoo areas,” he said.

“In addition, the provincial government has also asked the national agriculture department for another R147m for further drought support.”

A technical drought assessment by the department classified the northern part of the West Coast district, the entire central Karoo and parts of the Eden, Cape Winelands and Overberg municipalities as extremely critical.

“This situation remains a concern, as we are aware of the huge stress it also places on farming communities and farmworkers,” said Bredell.

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