Source : https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92428/cape-townrsquos-reservoirs-rebound
What a difference a few months can make. Cape Town has had to fight tooth and nail to keep itself hydrated and as NASA technology shows us, Theewaterskloof dam has come a long way in such a short space of time. The facility is the largest of its kind in the province and became the “poster child” for the Cape water crisis, as water began to drain from its reserves in 2017. Harsh, prolonged periods of drought meant that Theewaterskloof wasn’t getting replenished, which spelt disaster for the city and its residents.
How Theewaterskloof dam fought back from the brink
However, the rain finally revisited the Western Cape earlier in 2018. A few cold fronts and heavy rainfall helped stock the dams up with billions of litres of water. Just as important for the Mother City has been the contribution of its water-wise inhabitants. Capetonians have slashed their water consumption rates to record lows, whilst most are adhering to the 50 litres per person, per day rule. In fact, this week is the eight-consecutive period where dam levels have increased. The picture is looking a lot rosier for the region, but more hard work needs to be done to keep the momentum going.
Theewaterskloof dam – drought timeline:
It’s been almost two years since the facility resembled a picture of health. From here onwards, Cape Town’s problems intensified.
Another dry and humid summer saps the water from the dams. Theewaterskloof is reduced to just 25% of its capacity by the end of the year.
Dam levels plummet to 16%, large areas of the reservoir are empty and bone dry.
A barrage of rain in February signals the briefest of relief for the dam. The reserve sees its water levels stabilise, without any great improvement.
Frequent and persistent rains falling since the middle of May onwards see Theewaterskloof dam soar to 55% of its capacity.
NASA time-lapse for Theewaterskloof dam is available : https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92428/cape-townrsquos-reservoirs-rebound
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© 2018 Meteorologist Daneeja Mawren