No relief in sight for Cape Town’s drought

Cape Town may have had the biggest storm in 30 years, but the winter rainfall has been far below averages.

2017 Winter rainfall in Cape Town
2017 Winter rainfall in Cape Town

What makes the situation more acute is the fact that there are no reserves — last year experienced similarly low rainfalls.  See the pink line.

Cape Town's rainfall for 2016 and 2017
Cape Town’s rainfall for 2016 and 2017

There are predictions that the current drought could last another two years.

The last time Cape Town experienced such low rainfall was in 1994 — when the city’s population was about 1½ million people less than it is today.  See the purple line.

Cape Town's rainfall in 1994
Cape Town’s rainfall in 1994

Water restrictions in Cape Town were intensified to level 4b from Saturday, 1 July 2017.

The City of Cape Town aimed to reduce collective water usage to below 500 million litres per day.  This requires everyone cuts back on their individual usage to less than 87 litres of water per person per day.

But water consumption increased to an average of 643 million litres per day last week, compared to 613 million litres per day in the previous one.

“The fact that we are still 143 million litres over our 500 million litres per day target means that those who are not reducing consumption are playing with everyone’s future in Cape Town,” the city said in a statement.

“Failure to reduce consumption spells disaster for everyone.”

Click here to explore the data on the interactive rainfall monitor developed by the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town.

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