Cape Town Water Crisis: What You Need to Know
2018 Cape Town Water Shortage
In 2018 there was massive panic in Cape Town because of a water shortage caused by a drought. The drought was caused by 3 consecutive wet seasons which did not produce enough rainfall from 2015 to 2017, resulting in low dam water levels as low as 22%. The local government had to devise a water-saving campaign and implement water restrictions to discourage people from excessive water use. Please note that water was still available, it’s just that responsible water use was stressed in order to prevent Western Cape dams from drying up.
How is the Cape Town water situation?
Come 2019, the Western Cape has received enough rainfall to restore dam levels to about 80% capacity. The highest they have been in the past 4 years. There were still water restrictions and tariffs to prevent abuse and water conservation is still being promoted in restaurants and by the local government.
Cape Town water restrictions
The City of Cape Town implemented water restrictions in 2018 to control the amount of water being used per day so that Cape Town would not reach a point where there was no water. By the end of 2018 they were dropped from level 5 to level 3 water restrictions which meant that each person was limited to 105 litres of water per day, up from 70 litres per day under level 5 restrictions.
Cape Town Dam Levels
You can check dam levels in areas supplying Cape Town on the Cape Town government site. As of 18 December 2019 the dam levels are at 78%.
Cape Town rainfall
Unlike the rest of South Africa, which has heavy rainfall in summer, the Cape Town rain season is winter. Rainfall data in areas surrounding Cape Town shows that there has been more rainfall in the 2018 and 2019 wet seasons. Data from:http://www.csag.uct.ac.za/current-seasons-rainfall-in-cape-town/
What has changed since the 2018 Cape Town water crisis?
There is greater awareness of responsible water use
Many landlords in the Cape Town area use a water meter system to control misuse of water by making the tenants pay for their own water the same way you would pay for metered electricity.
Restaurants and public facilities have changed the types of taps they use to use systems which use less water.
What travellers should know about Cape Town’s water crisis?
The water crisis is over with the dams at around 80%, therefore visitors need not worry. In addition to this visitors account for a small percentage of the population therefore their water usage does not have a great impact, but do be conscious of water usage and practice water-conserving behaviour.
The water crisis did not affect Cape Towns standing as the city was voted the best city in the world for the 7th year running by more than 39000 readers of The Telegraph. So if you want to book a trip to the Mother City, do so, so you can experience Cape Town and the rest of the rainbow nation for yourself.
Be sure to hire a car for the duration of your stay in Cape Town. You can pick it up from the Cape Town International Airport as soon as you land.