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Western Cape Urged to Conserve Water Amid Potential Drought Concerns

Published December 24, 2023
7 months ago

In light of recent discussions by the Western Cape Water Supply System Steering Committee, the National Water and Sanitation Department is urging residents of the Western Cape to be vigilant about their water usage to prevent the imposition of future water restrictions. The committee, comprising stakeholders from various sectors, met to evaluate the water demands for the hydrological year spanning 1 October 2023 to 30 September 2024. This meeting saw the analysis of past rainfall patterns and the review of current water storage capacities and usage rates.

A major point of discussion was the dreadful drought that hit the Western Cape between 2017 and 2018, which was recorded as one of the worst in the region's history. It was this recollection that has partly informed the decision not to impose water restrictions at the current stage. The committee, instead, highlighted the importance of water conservation and demand management practices, urging all water users to participate actively in safeguarding this crucial resource.

The provincial head of the department, Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa, acknowledges that, as of now, there is sufficient water supply for the province’s needs. However, continuous management and a balance between supply and demand are imperative. Residents are also reminded that while dam levels have benefitted from timely rainfall and responsible usage, the water catchment areas are still susceptible to environmental factors, such as extreme weather conditions, reduced annual rainfall, water losses, and misuse.

As part of the water-saving initiatives, the department has put forward several recommendations for the residents. It is vital that individuals and businesses address leaks timeously, consider using alternative water sources—like recycled water, groundwater sources, and rainwater harvesting—and avoid vandalism of water infrastructure which exacerbates water loss.

The Western Cape has recently enjoyed a favorable recovery from previous droughts, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of its communities and government sectors. However, the threat of water scarcity remains a global challenge and requires ongoing vigilance and collaboration.

Residents of the Western Cape and the surrounding municipalities are being encouraged to invest in their future by adopting sustainable practices that could thwart the onset of water shortages. Through responsible water usage, regular maintenance, and exploration of diverse water sourcing methods, it's hoped that the Western Cape will continue to demonstrate leadership in water conservation and management.

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