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The City of Cape Town is urgently seeking alternate means of water sources as its water supply is close to being completely depleted.

Some of the city’s solutions lie with pumping water from the Table Mountain Group aquifer and the establishment of desalination plants.

The city plans to have these plants operational by August, and intends for them to produce up to 500 million litres of water per day.

Kevin Balfour, head of infrastructure in the city council’s water and sanitation department, said: “The city will require these reverse osmosis plants to be operational for at least six months, but might require [them] to remain in production for … one year or possibly even two years.”

The city requested ideas and information by 10 July to all interested and knowledgeable stakeholders who may be of assistance in supplying, installing and operating temporary reverse osmosis plants at various locations along the city’s coastline and inland.

While level 4 water restrictions remain in place in Cape Town, Xanthea Limberg, mayco member for utilities said restrictions could be extended beyond August should the situation not ease in the coming months.

Water levels

The Department of Water and Sanitation has reiterated that everyone reduce their water consumption as national dam levels continue to decline.

As of last week, provincial dam levels took an overall drop.

There has been a falloff in average dam levels across most provinces. The Algoa system, which consists of five dams serving Nelson Mandela Bay was at 35.7% last week, 0.7% down from the previous week.

The Amatola system, entailing six dams serving Buffalo City, was at 67.9% last week and is currently sitting at 67.1% last week.

The Cape Town Dams system, serving mainly the City of Cape Town, was at 22.7%, a slight increase from the previous week. However, the department warned that the city is still a long way off from breaking this ongoing drought.

The Voelvlei Dam was sitting at 18.2%, an increase of 1% compared to the previous week and the Theewaterskloof Dam rose by a mere 2%. It was recorded at 17.2% last week.

The Umgeni Dam System, serving mainly eThekwini and Msundusi in KwaZulu-Natal, saw a decrease of 0.6% and is at 63.1%.

Other KwaZulu-Natal dams, which remain low, include Phongolo at 39.8% and Goedertrouw at 34.0%, making a slight increase of 0.2% from the previous week.

The Vaal River System serving mainly Gauteng, Sasol and Eskom was at 83.3%, compared to 83.5% the previous week.

The Sterkfontein Dam remained steady at 90.7% and the Grootdraai Dam decreased by 1.4%, and was at 88.4%.

In the Orange River System, the Gariep Dam has seen a week-on-week decrease and was at 83.5% last week.

Polokwane System has remained steady for the past two weeks and is currently sitting at 64.1%.

“Water restrictions will remain in all the other provinces, with the exception of Gauteng. Residents are urged to continue using water sparingly,” the department said.