South Africa will take two to three years to recover from the worst drought in a century, but the Western Cape will feel the effects for longer than that, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday.
Mokonyane said in her budget vote speech major dams were almost three-quarters full, on average, by the beginning of the week but in the southernmost province the situation remained severe.
“As at the 22nd of May 2017, the total capacity of the 215 major dams that are measured on a weekly basis, is at 72.6 percent,” she said.
“We have not fully recovered, and it will take a period of not less than 2 to 3 years to fully recover and worst for the Western Cape, with its winter rainfall where even climate scientists remain noncommittal on the predictions.”
Western Cape premier Helen Zille declared the province a disaster area on Tuesday, while Cape Town tightened water restrictions further, instructing residents not use more than 100 litres a day.
Mokonyane said criticism that the response had been too slow, should be directed at the regional authorities. She added that the situation had been aggravated by tension between Zille and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, blaming it for a “severe delay” in declaring a disaster area.
According to the City of Cape Town, dam storage levels were at 20.7 percent. The city stressed that the last ten percent of a dam’s water was not usable and warned that consumption continued to exceed the target by almost 100 million litres a day.
No significant rainfall has been forecast for the region for the next fortnight.
– African News Agency (ANA)