13 December 2004

Water: Now it's a crisis

Cape Town's five major dams would be bone dry in 18 months if we did not have water restrictions and if rainfall patterns remained the same.

This shock projection comes as city water officials say Cape Town's failure to save enough water means we are facing a crisis.

Two months since restrictions began we are more than 30% short of the target of saving 10.7 billion litres.

City water officials say we have to make up these deficits, as well as meet the targets for the next few months, if water restrictions are not to be strengthened.

A projection of dam levels, carried out by the Cape Argus and based on previous rainfall and dam level patterns, showed in December 2003 that the dams were 71.2% full, dropping to less than 40% by June this year.

Now, in December 2004, the dams are just 53.5% full. With similar rainfall patterns and no restrictions, a similar drop over the next year or so would see dams empty by April 2006.

The City of Cape Town and the Water Affairs Department agreed with these projections. But they said it would never happen because they would not allow it to - and restrictions are the tool they would use.

The current restrictions aim to see everyone implementing a 20% cut in their water consumption.


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