The arrival of some heavy winter rains combined with the ingenuity and diligence of the residents of Cape Town has pushed dam storage levels to 76% this week; the highest they have been since 2014! It is also more than twice as much water as filled the city’s dams this time last year, when the drought was most severe. The City of Cape Town municipality says that it “hopes to reduce the current water restrictions in the near future”, sending a clear message that although the drought is ongoing, the water crisis is over.
Capetonians are living with a new, much more water conscious attitude which will carry them into the summer months ahead. Concern is sometimes expressed about how an influx of visitors over this period will affect water usage in the city, however the reality is that, during peak season, international tourists only add 1% to the population of the entire Western Cape. Despite this extremely small addition to the population size, tourism supports over 300,000 jobs across the province. In fact, the tourism industry has led the way in reducing the consumption of water by tourists, ensuring that each visitor “saves like a local”; a strategy which has proven to be extremely effective.
These videos, the first showing water levels last year and the second showing how they looked last week, are a powerful illustration of the effect of the recent rainfall and the incredible water saving efforts of Cape Town’s residents:
“The numbers are clear. Visitors add an enormous value to our province, even when they make up a tiny proportion of the population. They sustain livelihoods, and they stimulate growth even during challenging economic times. We want to let visitors know that you are most welcome, but when you visit, be mindful… and help us save water.” – Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris