Water levels at the Theewaterskloof Dam reached 48% this week following late winter rains

Cape Town’s largest dam has lifted a ban on recreational boating following late winter rains that have brought relief to the drought-stricken Western Cape Province.

The Theewaterskloof Dam, which had dropped below 10% earlier this year, this week reached 48%, with expected further rain next week expected to push it past the 50% mark. The news is a welcome relief for city residents and businesses affected by severe water restrictions, which may soon be lifted.

At one stage Cape Town was just weeks away from mandatory ‘water-shedding’, with emergency water collection points identified throughout the city – the result of three years of sustained below-average rainfall and rapid population growth.

The dire situation also prompted a freshwater ban at Cape Town harbour, with the Royal Cape Yacht Club advising visiting yachts to source water elsewhere. Several sailing clubs were also forced to ban recreational boating on inland dams due to critically low water levels.

Lise Wheeler, sales and marketing spokesperson for the Theewater Sports Club situated on the Theewaterskloof Dam – which supplies half of Cape Town’s potable water – this week confirmed all recreational sports were once again permitted. The club had previously been forced to ban powerboating.

“We are allowing boats on the water,” Wheeler said. “Our watersports season has started and we have a dedicated water safety officer with safety boat on duty.

“We are so much happier about the rising water levels and let’s hope for 50% next Monday,” she said.