The South African

Epic photos map Theewaterskloof’s three-year recovery


The recovery has been nothing short of a minor miracle since the dreader prospect of ‘day zero’ loomed over the Cape Town dams less than three years ago. Water rationing, supply fears, and political intervention ensured that the drought in the ongoing Mother City would be a tense affair. However, it’s all changed now Theewaterskloof dam has made a startling recovery.

Cape Town dams – photos from space

As the largest facility amongst the Cape Town dams, Theewaterskloof’s performance generally dictates how the rest of the system will perform. In the winter of 2018, things started picking up, and the reserve hasn’t looked back since. In the space of 33 months, it has gone from being 9% full to almost bursting its banks:

Theewaterskloof dam, January 2018 (left) vs September 2020 (right) – Photo: ESA / AfriWX

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Theewaterskloof had breached the 98% full mark – the same figure recorded by the Cape Town dams as a collective. The stunning transformation has been mapped by the European Space Agency (ESA), whose photos were shared by the AfriWX group on Thursday. Here’s what you came to see…

Theewaterskloof dam’s three-year recovery in photos:

At the start of the day zero crisis, Theewaterskloof saw its dam levels drop to 28% full – with an arduous summer ahead (Photo: ESA / AfriWX)
The dam reached its darkest hour in January 2018, dropping to just 9% of capacity. Emergency water restrictions and strict consumption limits were imposed on Cape Town, in the hope of stopping Theewaterskloof from running dry. (Photo: ESA / AfriWX)
Thankfully, some much-needed winter rain – couple with water rationing measures – helped get the facility back on track. Theewaterskloof stabilised, reaching 55% in September 2018. (Photo: ESA / AfriWX)
It took just 12 more months for the reserve to achieve stability, closing 2019’s winter season at 72% of its capacity. (Photo: ESA / AfriWX)
The most recent reading for Theewaterskloof indicates that it is now 98% full. And isn’t that a pretty sight? With more rain forecast to fall on Cape Town this Friday, there’s every chance this dam could breach the 100% mark. (Photo: ESA / AfriWX) Protection Status


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