Day 522, part 2 – 100%

101.6% in fact.

Yep, this bad boi, which gave us this, dumped 66mm of rain onto our back garden, saved enough to drop into the catchment areas to do this:

So moist.

And that almost 2 months before we managed to get over the 100% mark last year.

Prior to that, the dams were last full in 2014.

We have a very well-pubicised relationship with water supply and dam levels in Cape Town, and while this is obviously very good news, we still need to save water whenever we can, and there are still shedloads of projects continuing to ensure that we don’t (almost) run out again. As described here.

Day 517 – Something to look forward to

Deliciously sunny day today. If you’re wondering how my recovery is going – using the internationally recognised Duvet Cover Hanging Scale – I hung a duvet cover on the washing line and then had to sit down for 10 minutes.
That’s only 5 minutes longer than my pre-Covid levels.

Things are clearly improving.

But you’d better get your washing done quick quick, because tomorrow, this:

Indeed. Winter is not quite over yet.

On the plus side, this will probably (definitely) be enough to top off our dams at 100% ahead of the drier weather which will definitely (probably) be on the way real soon now. We’re currently sitting at 98.8%, with just another 10,427,000,000 litres needed to break that all important 898,221,000,000 litre mark.

Easy.

Check your gutters and drains. Wrap up warmly. Stay safe.

Regional numbers for reporting emergencies in the Western Cape:

· City of Cape Town – 107 or 021 480 7700 and 080 911 4357

· Overberg – 028 425 1690

· West Coast – 022 433 8700

· Garden Route – 044 805 5071

· Central Karoo – 023 449 8000

· Cape Winelands – 021 886 9244 / 021 887 4446

Day 474 – Happily wet

It’s not quite 3½ years since I took these photos at Theewaterskloof Dam – or what should have been Theewaterskloof Dam, at least.

Back then, we were on the verge of Day Zero, about the be the first big city in the world to run out of water.

Today, Theewaterskloof Dam level stands at 101.1% full. That’s more full than it actually can be. How cool is that?

On the water front, at least, things are looking pretty good:

We don’t need to worry too much about the Steenbras twins, but it would be nice to see Voëlvlei join the vol vlei party (see what I did there?). Probably not, if you’re outside SA, and you’re probably better off for that.

Photos from our few days away are still being processed.
There are almost 1000 of them. It may take a while.

Day 199 – Theewaterskloof revisited

It’s was 980 days ago that we went out to Theewaterskloof Dam to see for ourselves just how bad the drought facing Cape Town actually was.

Here’s my post from the day. And here are the images I took.

Today, we went back to Theewaterskloof Dam. And wow. What a difference a day 980 days makes.

Compare this from February 2018…

…with this from this morning:

Quite chuffed how close I managed to get those two images, given that it has been 2½ years and given that the place (thankfully) looks completely different.

Cape Town will always be threatened with water shortages, given the twin issues of rapid population growth and global climate change, but this is about as good as things could be and it was a truly heartening sight.

And yes, everyone knows that the dams are back up to 100% – I didn’t need to personally go out there and take this image to prove it. But we need these little wins right now, and this comparison very much fits that agenda.

I couldn’t get the drone up – the wind was blowing like a overenthusiastic lady on Kenilworth Main Road – but there will be more photos to follow.

I’ll let you know.

UPDATE: Here you go: photos.

Day 165 – Hasn’t it been wet?

Well, no. Not really.

Even though our dams are at a very healthy 95.6% of capacity…

… a far cry from the panic of literally running out of water not so very long ago, this has not been down to this being a particularly wet winter. In fact, this winter has been decidedly average.

graph from here

That’s the 8 months of 2020 so far in orange. Thankfully, not like 2011 (that’s the low line), but also definitely not like 2001 (that’s the very, very high line) either.

So yes, a few things like borehole augmentation, clearing of inflows and a reduction in alien vegetation around the dams will have helped, but it’s the fact that Capetonians are now using only just over half as much water each day as they used to which is making the biggest difference. We’re using just over 630 million litres per day, as opposed to the almost 1 billion litres per day prior to the nastiness of the drought in 2016-2018.

That’s a superb effort.

But…

One of the City’s methods of reducing water usage was to increase tariffs. This probably did have some effect, but now that the dams are nearly full for the first time in 6 years, isn’t it time to reduce those tariffs? The problem is that the City is selling much less water than it used to, while the efforts aimed at avoiding Day Zero two years ago were costly, and the plans to safeguard the city’s supply in a uncertain future doesn’t come for free.
Also, reduce the price of water and it stands to reason that consumption will go up again, which won’t help anyone, but might make up the shortfall in revenue.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg says:

Regarding tariffs: as previously stated, a reduction in tariffs will be dependent on an increase in consumption. Currently, the City is selling approximately 30% less water than before the drought, but is facing additional costs that come with increasing our resilience. It is important that the City cover its costs to ensure that the maintenance and augmentation programmes can be carried out. Should the amount of water we are selling significantly increase this will be factored into the tariffs, but given the uncertain impact of climate change it may not be wise to actively encourage such an approach at this stage.

So. Use less water so we don’t run out, but use more water so that it costs less, so that the City makes more money to make sure that they can replace the extra water you used because it was cheaper to use more water than when you were using less water.

 

Got it.