DAM levels across the Western Cape remain low despite recent rains, leading to recommendations of restricting water usage.

This comes amid concern about less-than-normal rainfall predicted for the coming winter season, which runs from the end of May to August.

The provincial government said on Monday that prevailing drought conditions in the Western Cape remained serious.

SA is in the middle of its worst drought in decades and the agricultural sector — which is critical to the Western Cape economy — has been the hardest hit.

The Western Cape local government, environmental affairs and development planning MEC, Anton Bredell, said rainfall across the province had provided some respite, but dam levels remained worryingly low.

The latest data on dam levels in the major Western Cape catchment areas reflected that dams were, on average, 29.5% full. In the corresponding period in 2015 the same dams were 58% full.

“This shows we still need a lot of water to allow the levels to recover adequately,” said Mr Bredell.

The Western Cape gets most of its rain in winter. Mr Bredell said the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre remained concerned about a prediction for a less-than-normal rainfall for the coming winter season.

“The rainfall predictions are not ideal and we are expecting a warmer winter with less rain. The challenge is that if we don’t recover our dam levels, the availability of water in the next summer season is of some concern.”

The management centre has recommended that water restrictions be implemented across the province during the rainy winter season until dam levels have increased to acceptable levels, said Mr Bredell.

“We are also urging municipalities to do regular monitoring of groundwater and boreholes in order to ensure regular assessment of their groundwater sources,” he said.

Earlier in April, Western Cape Disaster Management’s head Colin Deiner said that despite the serious situation, it was not necessary to declare a provincial state of disaster, as the largest part of the province was still able to cope despite water shortages.

Source: Western Cape government recommends water restrictions | National | BDlive