Pretoria: The Department of Water and Sanitation has reassured the Western Cape that it is working closely with provincial government, municipalities and other specialists to ensure sustainable water security across the province.
Since the beginning of the year, there has been a prolonged lower-than-normal rainfall, which has caused water stressed conditions in some areas across the Western Cape.
The South African Weather Bureau says the dry weather will most likely persist through the remainder of this year until the next rainy season.
The West Coast and the western parts of the Breede River System are moderately to extremely dry. The remainder of the province has received normal to above normal rainfall over the same period.
However, most towns and the City of Cape Town have water security as rainfall was captured in the dams. Some municipalities have also developed other sources of water supply to augment their limited supply.
The department said it is continually monitoring the prevailing situation.
“At present, the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) shows a weighted storage and supply of 72% of full supply, which is considered sufficient to cater for the envisaged short term water demand.
“Despite the much lower than normal rainfall, the groundwater levels in the West Coast and Cape Flats are relatively stable. As a precautionary measure, the department recommends that all municipalities using groundwater appoint a specialist to provide groundwater management,” the department said.
It said they are implementing short, medium and long term measures to address and mitigate the potential negative impacts of this restricted bulk water supply.
These measures include diversifying the water mix to include groundwater utilisation, rainwater harvesting, re-use of return flows and packaged desalination plants; reducing operational risks through proper infrastructure use and maintenance, and implementing water conservation and demand management programmes which includes the War on Leaks and ‘Drop the Block’.
“Residents within urban areas … are encouraged to rather use groundwater for garden irrigation. Caution, however, needs to be exercised not to use groundwater for drinking purposes within an uncontrolled urban setting,” the department said.
The department called on all users to make lifestyle changes to reduce water consumption and stretch the water drop.
It also encouraged localised water conservation and demand management within local government.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS