Western Cape edges closer to an end to the drought as dam levels continue to rise


Good news for the drought-stricken Western Cape came in the form of a dramatic increase in the province’s dam levels.

According to the Department of Water Affairs, dam levels increased from 45% to 51.7% in seven days, thanks to recent torrential rains in large parts of the province.

And that’s not all. The South African Weather Service has predicted more wet weather in the weeks ahead – raising hopes that the drought that has devastated Western Cape for the past two years will finally come to an end.

“Levels at the Theewaterskloof Dam which feeds Cape Town, have almost doubled to an astounding 38.5% compared to 18% a year ago. However, despite the good rains, the department will only review the current water restrictions when the dam levels have reached 85% capacity,” department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said in a statement.

Read: Restrictions will remain in place until Western Cape dam levels exceed 85% – water department

According to Ratau, the Cape Town Dams System – six dams serving the Cape Town metro – has increased from 48.3% to 53.0%. The system was at 24.7% at the same time last year.

Clanwilliam Dam is up from 67.7% to 98.3%. At the same time last year, it was at 20.6%. Voelvlei  Dam increased from 44.7% to 52.2%. 

“The report paints a stable picture of average national dam levels as they were recorded at 79.3%, the same figure as last week.

“Comparatively, the average national picture suggests an improved water situation in the country compared to 70.5% in 2017. If every South African continues heeding the call to save water and use it sparingly, the situation holds a bright future for the country,” Ratau added. 

Read more: Rains give Cape Town officials a breather to find new water supply mix

Leading the pack is the Vaal Dam in Gauteng. The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), consisting of 14 dams and serving mainly Gauteng, Sasol and Eskom, decreased from 86.1% to 85.8%. The system was at 81.9% at the same time last year.

The Eastern Cape has the lowest dam levels in the country. The Algoa Water Supply System, with five dams serving Nelson Mandela Bay, decreased from 19.7% to a perilous 19.3%. Last year, the system stood at 34.2%. The worst is the Kouga Dam, which has decreased from 7.8% to 7.4% this week. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Umgeni Dam System, which boasts five dams that serve eThekwini and Msunduzi in Pietermaritzburg, decreased slightly from 76.6% to 76.0%. The system was at 61.6% during the same period last year. 

In Limpopo, the average dam levels decreased from 73.7% to 72.9%, while average dam levels in Mpumalanga remained stagnant at 80.2%.

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