D Is For Dams

D is for Dams

Ever since the first drought we experienced here in the Cape back in 2004 I've kept a regular eye on the levels of Cape Town's dams. I like to note how much the levels have gone up or down and get a feel for what might be happening with the next round of water restrictions. Our latest drought began back in 2016 with a normally dry summer followed by a very dry winter, a pattern which repeated itself right up until winter 2020 when the local dams finally hit an average level of 100%.

Now this doesn't mean that Cape Town's drought is over, it really isn't and to declare it as such would be reckless given that the Cape needs a few normal winter seasons to replenish the ground water fully before the next inevitable drought hits again.

During the drought, Cape Town made headlines around the world for being the first city of major international standing that was on the verge of cutting the water supply to its residents. Thankfully Day Zero didn't happen and even today, as summer is in its death throes and winter is bearing down upon us we sit with our dams being at a collective 72.3% full. We haven't experienced such giddy heights in a long time. In fact, this time last year the dams sat at a collective 58.1% full which give an idea of the scale of things.

Cape Town is supplied by six local dams, though two of them: Steenbras Upper & Lower are pretty meaningless in the bigger picture and are far more important in terms of their hydro electricity generating.

The dam that really matters is Theewaterskloof which accounts for a little under half of our water supply, so when this one runs dry as in the photo above, things get really serious.

For now, keeping an eye on our dam levels is a bit of fun again and hopefully it will remain that way for some time to come.

This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2021.


  1. I remember reading about it when the water situation was dire in Cape Town back in 2016 (was that 5 years go already?!). I'm glad that the crisis was averted, but thank you for reminding us that the drought isn't over. More water shortages and drought are inevitable, the way things are going, and are a warning to us of what we have in store if we don't seriously address climate change. Wishing you the good seasons you need in order to replenish your groundwater supply.

  2. Crikey, and we thought we'd had some bad years. Well, we have, but not this bad.
    Good luck with your A to Z
    Jemima Pett

  3. Hello,
    I believe we should be mindful with our water at all times, it's one resource that there is never enough of. Much luck in the A2Z Challenge.

  4. visiting from #atoz! When we've experienced minor droughts in our area, they have asked people not to water lawns and not to use excess water but I've never lived anywhere that the water supply to residents was actually cut. I so often take clean drinking water and the availability of water for granted.

  5. Water scarcity and drought is something I can easily relate to ...In India the northern states have rivers with their sources in the Himalayas and so they have water throughout the year.... the rivers in the south are more dependent on the monsoon rains and so there is often a time when farmers are affected by the lack of water or water supply in towns and cities get limited to a few hours per day ... water availability is in fact a key criteria when people look out for property to buy ....thanks to scientific advancements the situation is improving but I know how people live when they have to remember the time to store the water

    1. Visiting from #atoz


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