17 January 2018

South Africa: #CapeWatergate - As Fake News Flows, Real Photos Show Drought's Effect On Dams


Lies, misinformation, genuine errors and conspiracy theories about the Cape water crisis are all circulating busily on social media. The reality is scary enough without the fake news, as recent pictures of the Theewaterskloof Dam show. When conditions are optimum, a full Theewaterskloof holds more than half of all the water in the Western Cape water system. It has just under 16% of its capacity left - of which around 10% is probably unusable. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Two photos, taken three-and-a-half years apart, starkly illustrate the Western Cape's water crisis.

In July 2014, the Cape Fold mountains are mirrored in the generous waters of the Cape's biggest dam.

By January 2018, there is no mountain reflection in the dam, because there is no water visible in the frame. Brown, cracked earth now stretches as far as the eye can see.

The pictures, taken by professional photographer Greg Gordon, are very real.

"There's no doctoring [of the images]," Gordon told Daily Maverick. "This is what it looks like. It's horrifying."

Theewaterskloof is one of six dams which together contain 99.6% of the Western Cape Water Supply System. Theewaterskloof is the largest by a considerable margin, with the capacity to hold 53.5%...

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