Categories: South Africa

Western Cape dam levels continue to drop

With little significant rain expected in the Western Cape over the next six months, there is concern over the region’s…

Anton Bredell, MEC for the provincial government, recently briefed members of the media on the Western Cape’s current drought situation.

“Across the province, the average dam level has dropped to 55%,” he said. For the corresponding period last year, the average dam level in the province was at 65%.

While the province had not been declared a disaster area, five local municipalities had been declared local disaster areas. These included the Central Karoo District, West Coast District, Witzenberg, Prince Albert and Oodtshoorn.

Of these areas, the Central Karoo and West Coast districts were the worst affected.

“Although farms in the Central Karoo region received rain during winter, it was not enough to fill dams [or] for sufficient growth in plants. Matters in the West Coast District municipality also remain serious, despite the Clanwillian dam level being above 90%. A 20% water restriction has been instituted by all municipalities in the region,” said Bredell.

He added that while the Overberg District had reported no immediate crisis in the area, certain towns, including Grabouw and Villiersdorp in the Theewaterskloof, would be subjected to 20% water restrictions for agricultural and urban usage.

Meanwhile, the dry conditions and low water supply were also fire concerns. According to disaster management chief, Colin Deiner, the fire season had started early this season.

“We are heading into our dry season, a period where we are faced with a lot of fires. This is [of particular] concern since the more fire, the bigger the effect on the drought.”

He said that the province had made R8 million available for support in combatting fires.

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