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Cape Town water in danger of running dry

In 10 years Cape Town’s population has rocketed from 2,9m to 3,7m and it will hit 4,4m in 2020. What is not growing is the city’s already precarious water supply.

Appeals to save water, and a ban on watering gardens between 10am and 4pm is making little difference

“Even in a year of normal rainfall our dams are being drawn down faster than they are filling,” says Jeremy Taylor, founder of water conservation specialist Water Rhapsody. Sharing his view, Peter Johnstone of the University of Cape Town’s Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSA G) warns: “Water supply is falling below demand.”

This, says Taylor, is evident in the level of Cape Town’s six dams, which have fallen despite a 17% increase in total capacity created by the new Berg River Dam in 2009.

The six dams, reports the City of Cape Town, stood at 57,4% of combined capacity on March 19, down from 74% of five dams four years earlier. Dam levels are falling by almost 2%/week as the Western Cape faces its second year of below-average winter rainfall.

“Until the end of May and even into June it appears that the Western Cape will get very little rain,” says Johnstone. The CSAG’s forecast indicates that in March, April and May, rainfall will be 50%-80% of average, while June will see 80%-100% of average.

“Forecasts are tricky, but so far this year, our prediction of below-average rainfall has been accurate,” says Johnstone. He adds that the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research’s Western Cape rainfall forecast to June is in line with the CSAG’s. “If there is no rain by the end of March, the city must act swiftly to curb water use,” he says . Continue reading Cape Town water in danger of running dry

Residents urged to conserve water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 Nov 2011

Capetonians could face stricter water restrictions as dam levels hit a four-year low.

Save good quality drinking water - use grey water for irrigation

Low-level restrictions are already in place including a ban on watering gardens between 10am and 4pm.

Adding to the low dam levels, rainfall this year has also been below average.

A UCT climatologist said of the past 10 months, eight had had below-average rainfall. May, June and July, usually the wettest months, were “drier than normal”.

Climate models showed this situation was likely to become more common in the years ahead and it could drive up the price of water.

Residents were being urged to conserve water. This appeal comes as climate change is expected to lead to rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns.

The City of Cape Town’s water department was due to meet the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry on Wednesday but has not released any details.

The city’s draft annual report says 19 percent of water was “unaccounted for”. This term refers to the difference in the amount of water purchased and in the city’s distribution system, compared with the amount which is sold to customers. Continue reading Residents urged to conserve water

Cape Town contemplates water restrictions

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 Nov 2011

The City of Cape Town has warned its residents they are likely to face water restrictions in the coming 12 months after poor rainfalls this year.

Mayoral committee member for utility services Shehaam Sims […]

Cape Town drought may bring water restrictions

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 17 Aug 2011

Cape Town may be subjected to water restrictions this summer because August and September are likely to be drier than usual, a climate researcher has warned.

Predicted below average rainfall will bring water […]

Cape Town on brink of water restrictions

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 Aug 2011

A University of Cape Town climatologist on Monday warned that the Mother City’s water situation is critical.

Using grey water for irrigation

Recent figures indicate Cape Town received about 20 millimetres of rainfall […]