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01 August 2011

Summer water restrictions loom for Cape Town

A University of Cape Town climatologist on Monday warned that the Mother City's water situation is critical.

Recent figures indicate Cape Town received about 20 millimetres of rainfall in July. That is well below the month's average figure of 140 millimetres.

Dams are currently at about 70 percent capacity, but climatologist Peter Johnstone said if it does not rain soon, dams may run dry by summer.

Johnstone said it may become necessary to impose strict water restrictions.

“After September the rainfall gets very low and if it comes to October, November, December with very little rain, we start using a lot of water, then we find that our dams are running at 30 percent full and that is very, very risky..."

He added, "At that sort of levels we are going to have very strict water restrictions."

Farmers are also battling.

Chief Executive Officer of Agri Wes-Cape, Carl Opperman, said they are desperate for more rain.

“The rain that we received last week was not enough, but it was basically just enough to tick us over the critical phase that was busy developing. We are looking for some more rain,” he said.

- EWN