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Groundhog day for Cape Town as dams reach 30%

Cape Town dam levels reach 30%.
Cape Town dam levels reach 30%.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

After being brought to the point of near-depletion‚ Cape Town’s dam levels this week are at exactly the same level as two years ago.

The city council said the five main dams were at 29.8% of their capacity on Monday‚ up 5.8 percentage points on a week earlier and more than 10 points higher than this time last year.

The rise in levels can be attributed to the 216.3mm rainfall in May that was close to the long-term average‚ according to the city.

According to the South Africa Weather Service‚ 54.2mm fell in the CBD last week alone‚ with 156.8mm recorded at Kirstenbosch.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the rise in dam levels could also be attributed also to the city’s pressure management programme‚ which had reduced water use and the risk of leaks or bursts. Pressure management is saving 62 million litres of water a day‚ according to Neilson.

He said the city has been doing pressure management for years‚ but had expanded the system in response to the drought. Officials could control water pressure remotely‚ he said‚ and were expanding pressure-testing to see where they could put in more automated pressure zones.

“We know that sometimes pressure management will lead to some level of discomfort for certain areas or households‚ but this is a key initiative to ensure that we continue to use as little water as possible and lower our water usage to 450 million litres per day‚” he said.

The spike in dam levels last week coincided with a rise in water usage. Cape Town averaged 529 million litres per day last week‚ up from 505 million litres the week before.

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