South Africa: Eastern Cape Drought - Rapidly Overtaking the Cape Town Crisis

Theewaterskloof Dam in drought-stricken Western Cape (file photo).
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Cape Town has dominated headlines as the city most likely to run out of water due to the crippling drought in the Western Cape. But as officials in the Cape Town Mayor's office scramble to work around a series of political scandals within the province's ruling DA, the neighbouring Eastern Cape has been rolling headlong into disaster. And they don't have a lot of options. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.

While Cape Town's water crisis has been dominating headlines, some of the Eastern Cape's key dams have been quietly barrelling towards disaster, rapidly overtaking their still-fuller cousins in the Western Cape.

Kouga dam, an arch dam on the Kouga river, is one of these. Its full storage capacity is 126 million cubic metres. Last year this time, it was 44.6% full.

In the first week of 2018, it was at just under 10%. It has dropped a further 0.7% over the past week, taking it from 8.6% to 7.9%.

Department of Water and Sanitation national spokesperson Sputnik Ratau has been urging residents to save this "precious resource", but dam levels continue to drop fast. At the beginning of the year, mayoral committee member for infrastructure and engineering Masixole Zinto said...

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