Due to recent heavy rains, water experts anticipate that at least two dams in the Western Cape may be completely filled in the next few days. Dr Kevin Winter, Professor and Water Specialist at the University of Cape Town, said: “As you know we are now experiencing good rainfall which has caused most of the major dams to overflow. Both Theewaterskloof (77% full last time I checked) and Voelvlei (just over 50% full) are continually filling up. “These two dams are the only ones that have not reached 100%. Theewaterskloof will benefit from the rain that has fallen over the last 24 hours, but it will be a few days before we can verify how much the incoming streams have raised the levels.
Western Cape Dam levels
“Voelvlei is now a bit of an unknown because the last cold front brought heavy rain to the South Cape, but I won’t see any data from the last 24 hours until later tomorrow. Anyway, after a big rain it takes a few days for the dams to fill up. Winter said the city’s water dashboard included information for the Western Cape water storage system dating back to 2008. “Since 2008, there have been six cases where storage dams have completely filled. The last time all storage levels were at 100% was in 2014,” he noted.
The water capacity of Western Cape dams has increased by 11% since last year, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), with experts anticipating a further increase in the coming days. The slow rate at which the province’s dams were filling caused considerable alarm among water consumers earlier this year, according to DWS. Naturally, the dam levels at that time were much lower than the previous two years. The condition of the Western Cape storage dams has deteriorated over the past two weeks as a result of torrential rains across the region. Total aggregate capacity of dams in the Cape Town system was 79.31%, up from 63.92% at this time last year. Overall storage for all DWS-monitored dams in the province is 68.71%, up 11% from the previous year, according to The Western Cape State of Dams. Thirteen dams had increases of more than 5%, including Ceres, Bulshoek, Karee, and Kwaggaskloof dams.
The fact that no dams were lowered this week is encouraging. Although the Gouritz catchment receives some considerable rainfall, the coastal belt receives most of its precipitation in the summer. “Ten of the dams in the basin—most of which are agricultural dams—are at 100% capacity. The Theewaterskloof Dam, which supplies water to 54% of the dams in the Western Cape water supply system and is the largest dam in the province, reached 76.67%, a respectable production for this time of year. The agency was watching as dam deposits were completed across the province. Stella Nake, chief forecaster for the South African weather services, predicted that the recent rains will have a substantial impact on dam levels in the Western Cape. So stay tuned to PKB news for more updates.