Despite Capetonians experiencing cold conditions caused by heavy rainfall in the heart of spring this past weekend, the Western Cape Government remains concerned about the water supply in drought-stricken areas in the province. If these conditions continue, the department will roll out water restrictions.
“In the Western Cape we have not yet been declared a disaster area as in other provinces but low summer rainfall prevails. If we had good catchment then this will reduce the risk of water shortages. This involves the rainfall reaching the dams,” says Environmental Affairs and Development Planning spokesperson James Grant.
Areas in the Central Karoo and West Coast have experienced a scarcity of water due to drought.
“These areas experience more challenges as the area is quite dry and rainfall not familiar to these parched regions. Also this season is dry and warm as November is in the heart of summer,” says Grant.
Although dam levels are generally 75% on average, the province is receiving less rainfall than in previous years. Areas experiencing low dam levels will see a roll out of water management strategies to address the scarcity.
“Every province is differently affected by water restrictions so in the West Coast and Central Karoo, there will be stringent water restrictions,” says Grant.
The department said this was the result of the current humid and dry summer season. The precipitation period during May to August that left the dams flooded with an abundant water supply has ended.
“With the average temperature during summer being 20 degrees sometimes a maximum of 26 degrees, these are the warmest months. But we are experiencing hot conditions of 30 to 32 degrees which are hazardously dry conditions leaving land parched,” says Grant.
The water management strategies will take the form of the implementation of water restrictions in the affected areas. The Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Department will be addressing the issue. It has prioritized water management. The department assured those affected that personnel have the ability and expertise to provide these dry regions with water management.
“Water management is a national government competency,” added Grant.
Water consumers are urged to use the resource wisely. Here are some tips courtesy of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA).
• Reading your water meter to make yourself aware of your monthly water usage.
• Conducting a water audit to determine where you use the most water.
• Fitting water-efficient taps, shower fixtures and dual flush toilet systems in your home.
• Watering your garden through a drip irrigation system and not a sprinkler.
• Installing a greywater system in your home and recycle greywater from your bathroom in your garden.
• Washing your car on a grassed area and not in the driveway.
• Not pouring toxic liquids into your storm water or sewer drains
• Getting involved a local conservation group, such as a Wessa Friends Group, to protect and keep your local river or wetland pollution free. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)