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New data from the City of Cape Town show the dams supplying the Mother City are more than half full, double the level of a year ago.

Yet government bureaucrats are still refusing to relax the onerous water restrictions which bring misery to residents and deter visitors.

The City announced that - as of Tuesday, July the 3rd - the dams around Cape Town were 50.3% full.

Indeed, there has been more concern recently about flooding than about the drought.

In a report (Wednesday) on the dams in the Western Cape, the Department of Water and Sanitation noted that in the province as a whole “dam levels have risen to a mammoth 41,6%, thanks to persistent rains that have drenched major parts of the province in what looks like a bumper rainy season that has the potential of breaking the two-year-old drought.
 
“The South African Weather Services has predicted more rains for the region in the coming weeks and emergency officers have been put on a standby to handle a potential natural disaster in the form of floods.

“Most parts of the low-lying peninsula in the Cape Flats were flooded, leaving hundreds of shack dwellers with the headache of mopping excessive water that partly destroyed their structures. However, no casualties were reported by the emergency services.

“A weekly report by the Department of Water and Sanitation shows that statistically, dam levels that were recorded at an all-time low three months ago, are rising by five percent week-on-week, a phenomena that gives hope that by the end of the rain season later this year the water situation in the region will have improved drastically.”

However, the Department said is not yet ready to end the rationing. 

“It is too early yet to predict the relaxation of stringent water restrictions that various municipalities imposed last year to save the situation. Despite the improvement of dam levels, the department calls on water users in the province to continue saving water until further notice.”

Here are the levels in the major dams feeding Cape Town:

Berg River:                   80.3%
Steenbras Lower                 54.1%
Steenbras Upper                101.4%
Theewaterskloof                    36.8%
Voëlvlei                          44.6%
Wemmershoek                    80.8%
Total                            50.3%

“Because each dam size is different, the best indicator of overall dam water levels is the overall percentage stored compared to the total accumulated capacity. This statistic is shown in the bottom line of the table,” said the City.

The Department said that “elsewhere, Gauteng recorded a full capacity of dam levels at 100,3%, followed by Free State and North West at 94,5 % and 93,5% respectively. 

“Against this background, the Integrated Vaal River System that contributes to the Vaal River is fully functional with its 14 tributaries pouring into the Vaal Dam.

“Nationally, figures show that the dams with a total capacity of 32 322,6 cubic metres are standing at 79,3% compared to 70,9% last year. This is an improvement of an average 9% year-on-year. 

“Mpumalanga is also showing some improvement with its average 80,5% recorded this week compared to 78,% in 2017.

“Misvertand Dam in Western Cape recorded a whopping 157,4% level, followed by Boegoeberg, Northern Cape with 106,1%. However, in April this year water was released into Misverstand from Berg River to augment its alarming state.  

“The Department of Water and Sanitation would like to remind water users to adhere to water restrictions imposed by their respective municipalities and use water sparingly.”

It is unlikely that a decision to relax water rationing in CT will be made before October this year when the overall rain patterns for the season are known. 

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