Cape Town Uses Most Water in 8 Weeks as Dams Little Changed

(Bloomberg) -- Water usage in the South African city of Cape Town surged 6.7 percent over the past week to the highest levels since March even as storage in dams supplying the city barely increased.

Consumption rose to 554 million liters (146 million gallons) a day in the week until May 14 from 519 million liters the week before, the city said in an emailed statement on Monday. That’s almost 20 percent more than the daily usage target set by the national Department of Water and Sanitation, and the highest since the 565 million liters a day the city reported on March 18. Total storage rose to 21.4 percent from 20.9 percent, the city said.

Dam levels have dropped from close to 40 percent in October as the worst drought on record depleted reserves. The water crisis in the Western Cape province has hit farming exports and house prices and may affect lending to the agriculture sector, the Reserve Bank said in March.

Residents of Cape Town are being restricted to using 50 liters of water each a day and told to take 90-second showers. As usage declined, the city removed for this year the threat of a “Day Zero” when it would turn off the taps.

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