Local government, environmental affairs and development planning MEC, Anton Bredell, said in a statement that dam levels in the Western Cape are still in a good state.

The Department of Water and Sanitation was continuously monitoring the situation to ensure any necessary restrictions were imposed in time to avert a potential crisis.

“The system is under pressure and will come under additional pressure over the December holiday season when there will be an influx of visitors to the coastal areas across the Western Cape,” he said.

Bredell said municipalities may also consider implementing step-up tariffs for high water use. Municipalities in the province had pre-approved water restrictions, backed by the council, Colin Deiner, head of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre, said in a statement.

“These haven’t been implemented to date but may be considered if necessary as we enter the dry summer months ahead.”

Business Day reported that the provincial government and its municipalities are also weighing their options on how to secure the precious resource. Water reclamation and seawater desalination are among the options being considered.

Bredell said the province was planning to build desalination plants in Cape Town and the West Coast district municipality, saying desalination was costly but essential for water security.

But, Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde said on Thursday a desalination plant was not an option and the province would instead look to use water wisely.

National government has proposed desalination in its water resource strategy. Government estimates that, by 2030, desalination plants could provide up to 10% of SA’s urban water supply. But desalination could add pressure on the country’s strained electricity grid as it is an energy-intensive process. It takes up to 14kWh of power to desalinate 4,000l of seawater.

Cape Chamber of Commerce president Janine Myburgh said, “We should be using the waste heat from the Koeberg nuclear power station for desalination. This is normal practice in the Middle East, where most desalination takes place and it is amazing that we are not doing it here.”

The provincial government will also consider expanding the Brandvlei Dam’s capacity.

Business Day