Drought warning as dam levels decline in Cape Town, South Africa #Drought #Dam #CapeTown #SouthAfrica

Drought Emergency Alert_2

CAPE Town’s dam levels have declined by 0.6%, according to readings from earlier this month.

This was recorded over the week from May 4-10 and resulted in 54.3% of total dam level capacity.

Water consumption for the period increased to 676 million litres per day.

Consumption was at 662 million litres per day, in the previous week, the City said.

Two years ago the City of Cape Town experienced the Day Zero water crisis.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said although the bulk of the region’s rainfall traditionally falls between May and June, rainfall in 2020 to date was lower than the long-term average between January and April.

Water consumption is well below the long-term average, so low rainfall was not a significant cause for concern, she said.

“The possibility that the drought may not be over does warrant a reminder that we need to remain aware of water restrictions.

“Reacting quickly and effectively to changes in water restrictions is the most important intervention during drought periods,” said Limberg.

She told Weekend Argus that Cape Town pulled off a world record-breaking drought response, in its reduction in water consumption and many of these changes have been permanent.

“Through efforts by residents to reduce water consumption, a range of interventions by the City administration (including intensive pressure management, restructuring of water tariffs and water augmentation projects), we pulled through the worst of it without ever having to turn off taps and implement the Day Zero scenario,” she said.

Residents reduced consumption by almost 60% in world record-breaking time, resulting in the city being formally acknowledged by the International Water Association, said Limberg.

The city was recognised as the global “Water Saving Capital” by the International Water Association in 2018.

There was a decline in water consumption when looking back over the previous 1-2 months.

Water consumption normally goes down in winter and up in summer, so a drop in consumption over April/May is to be expected, added Limberg.

Jo Barnes, an epidemiologist and senior lecturer at the Stellenbosch University’s faculty of health sciences, said water use would vary depending on many factors.

“Weather plays a role (unexpectedly hot weather tends to cause higher water use). It is a lockdown week, so very few industries were in full operation so much less water would have been used.”

There was also 13mm of rain recorded which reduced consumption towards the end of last week.

Jacqueline Goldin, the Unesco chairperson for groundwater at UWC, said climate change has not mobilised the world in a way that the coronavirus has, but it should have.

“We should have a solidarity fund, a climate change command officer, policing and coming together as a globe to reduce our carbon footprint, save water and save our planet,” said Goldin.

Courtesy of iol.co.za


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