Cape Town Dams Are Almost Full, A Far Cry From Two Years Ago

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Cape Town nearly ran out of water in 2018. Now, thanks to the best winter rains for several years, its reservoirs are almost full.

Dam levels are closing in on 96%, the South African city said on Tuesday. Authorities came within 90 days of turning off the taps two years ago, prompting fears of a “Day Zero,” as overall dam levels dwindled below 30%. Cape Town imposed severe water restrictions and hiked tariffs to curb consumption by its 4 million residents after three years of drought.

Temuco, ChileMost polluted air today, in sensor range 0 9 8 7 6 5 0 2 1 0 9 8 Soccer pitches of forest lost this hour, most recent data 0 6 5 4 3 2 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 4 3 2 1 0 .0 9 8 7 6 5 0 1 0 9 8 7 0 2 1 0 9 8 0 5 4 3 2 1 0 6 5 4 3 2 0 1 0 9 8 7 Parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere

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“Seeing the dam levels draw nearer and nearer to the 100% mark is absolutely riveting,” Xanthea Limberg, the city’s top official for water and waste, said in a statement. “For everyone who grimly watched the weather forecasts on the edge of their seats through the winters of the past few years, reaching 95.6% today is remarkable.”

At the height of the crisis, the city restricted residents to 50 liters, about 13 gallons, each a day to cover drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. Capetonians became accustomed to capturing their bathwater to flush toilets and to harvesting rain. Hotels removed stoppers from bathtubs to curb usage by tourists and the near-disaster prompted suggestions of towing icebergs from the Antarctic to the Cape coast to bolster fresh-water supplies.

Rainfall this year at Theewaterskloof, site of the largest dam serving the city, reached almost 500 millimeters (20 inches) as of Aug. 30, the most since 2014, according to data compiled by the Climate System Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town.

Between February 2015 and February 2018, Cape Town cut its daily average water consumption by more than half — from 1.2 billion liters to 500 million liters, according to the Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute.

— With assistance by Michael Cohen

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