Government relaxes water restrictions in W Cape

National government has relaxed water restrictions for urban and agricultural use in the Western Cape.

In a statement, the Department of Water and Sanitation's Regional Head of the Western Cape, Rashid Khan, said water availability at this time is much healthier than a year or two ago during the debilitating drought.

For the 2018 season, the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) received relatively good rains, which led to good inflows to the system's six dams. According to the report of 3 December 2018, the combined average dam levels for WCWSS is 69.68%, a notable increase as compared to the 34.74% at the same time last year, Khan said.

Following good seasonal rainfalls, national government has decided to relax water restrictions from 45% to 10% for domestic use and 60% to 10% for agricultural use.

Khan said the decision to relax water restrictions is based on the hydrological data that was recently updated by the department through a scientific model.

The model shows that reducing water restrictions will bring the system into balance and it will then be operated to ensure security of supply to both urban and agricultural users.

Khan said the reduction of restrictions is residual and is also aligned to climate change impacts.

The department stressed the importance of using alternative water sources to stretch water availability.

It must be noted that these restrictions apply to bulk water. The department, together with other water specialists, will monitor the situation and engage users through scheduled drought forums, as well as take appropriate steps to ensure uninterrupted water supply, Khan said.

Prior to the rainfall in the recent rainy season in the province, the water supply systems in the Western Cape were severely constrained as a result of lower than normal rainfall over the previous three years.

In a bid to curb excessive use and stretch water security, the department imposed water restrictions of 45% on domestic use, and 60% on agricultural use.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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