Overstrand Municipality has made a call on Hermanus residents to use water wisely and sparingly, as the diminishing levels of the De Bos Dam are a cause for concern.

The De Bos Dam level was at 38.1% by the end of April 2020, compared to 41.5% at the same time last year and 38.8% at the end of April 2018.

Hermanus had 14.5 mm of rain during April 2020, which brings the total rainfall for the year to date to 133.4 mm, compared to the long-term average of 144.1 mm for the period January to April.

According to Johan Montgomery, viticulturist at Hamilton Russell Vineyards, they received just over 20 mm of rain during April, which makes this the driest April in 22 years.

“It is not panic stations yet and we are looking forward to the rain predicted for this weekend. We need good rains then, with ample to follow during the rainy season,” he said.

Long-term weather predictions indicate late winter rains in the Western Cape with a strong possibility of the early arrival of spring. Montgomery said wine farmers need a cold winter with temperatures under 10˚C in order for the vines to rest before they start blooming.

The municipality stated in a press release that the average daily water consumption in Hermanus during April 2020 was 10.52 million litres per day, compared to 10.89 million litres per day during April 2019 – 3.4 % lower than last year.

Apart from the 10 boreholes that supply water to the town, the De Bos Dam is Hermanus’s main water source. “The 10 boreholes are being used optimally and have contributed significantly to the preservation of the De Bos Dam level. A total of 35.5 % of the water demand In April 2020 was supplied from the boreholes,” the municipality said.

Two new boreholes have been drilled and are set to be commissioned during August. The project to connect the boreholes to the bulk water supply network will start this month.

“Residents in the Hermanus area are reminded that Level 2 water restrictions are still applicable until the De Bos Dam has reached a level of at least 70%. The first level of water-restriction tariffs will be applied to the administrative area of Hermanus only, in other words to all residential areas from Benguela Cove through Fisherhaven to Voëlklip.

“Kindly note that water restrictions are in place of necessity to discourage excessive water use and to preserve the water level of the dam. This leads to lower water consumption and does not generate additional income for the municipality,” according to the statement.

Other administrative areas within the Overstrand are not affected by these measures since they still have sufficient water resources.

The Buffels River Dam, which supplies water to Rooiels, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay is still above 90% of capacity, and the Kraaibosch Dam near Gansbaai and the Pearly Beach Dam are above 80%. The boreholes supplying Stanford, Baardskeerdersbos and Buffeljagsbaai have not been adversely affected by the drought at this stage.

Here are the amended Level 2 water restrictions for Hermanus:

• The use of irrigation systems and hose pipes are allowed when watering gardens, but remember, only for one hour per day, once a week.

• The day per week is determined in accordance with street numbers. For residents with even numbers, it is Wednesday ONLY, and for those with uneven numbers, Tuesday ONLY.

• Please water gardens before 09:00 or after 17:00 on these stipulated days.

• Washing of vehicles and hard surfaces with a hose pipe using municipal water is still not allowed. Vehicles may only be washed using a bucket.

• Swimming pools may be filled with municipal water.

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