Over 300 people from across the Western Cape gathered at the wall of the Theewaterskloof Dam on Sunday for a Diens van Dankbaarheid (Thanksgiving Service) to express their gratitude for the dam not only being full, but overflowing for the first time in nearly a decade.
The event, organised by retired Caledon businessman, Louis Jordaan, and broadcast live across the Overberg by Caledon FM (CFM) was attended by Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, Overberg District Executive Mayor, Sakkie Franken and Executive Mayor of Theewaterskloof Municipality, Christelle Vosloo.
The last time that Theewaterskloof Dam overflowed was in 2014. On March 9, 2018, the dam, which is Western Cape’s biggest and main water source for residents and industry in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, was just 11% full. With just one percent of this water usable, Cape Town was facing Day Zero and becoming the first major city in the world to run out of drinkable water.
When asked by The Village NEWS why he attended the thanksgiving, Minister Meyer said, “Water is life” and added that while the dam is important for Cape Town, it is also a vital source for farmers.
Approximately 30% of the dam’s water is used to irrigate about 15 000 hectares of farmland, where high-value fruit and vegetables are grown, much of which is exported around the world.
Jan Grayling, the CFM presenter of Koskas, a weekly show that focuses on agriculture and food security, hosted the event and said that while we often pray for rain, we don’t often give thanks when it does rain. This day, he added, was an opportunity to “praise God for his abundance” and to bring the community together. In Afrikaans, a koskas is a low cupboard that was traditionally used in the past for storing food.
The Theewaterskloof Dam was established in 1978 with a capacity of 480 million cubic metres, about 41% of the water storage capacity available to Cape Town.