LOOK: Dams tell history of Cape water scarcity
Cape Town – This is not the first time Cape Town has faced a severe water shortage and has put extreme measures in place to stretch its water supply.
The Weekend Argus visited five dams built in the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as the the Waterworks Museum on Table Mountain, this week.
These dams were built to provide water to the various areas to the city.
Arne Singel, a former manager of the bulk water branch of the City of Cape Town bulk, accompanied the Weekend Argus and provided information about the reasons for construction of the various dams.
The Woodhead and the Hely Hutchinson dams were built by the then Corporation of the City of Cape Town and the Victoria, Alexandra and De Villiers dams were built by the then Wynberg municipality.
The Alexandra dam was built first and completed in 1893 and lifted further in 1902.
The Victoria dam was completed in 1896, and the Woodhead in 1897, followed by the Hely Hutchinson in 1904 and the De Villiers in 1910.
All five dams still form part of the city’s drinking water supply, said Ian Neilson, Cape Town deputy mayor.
The Woodhead and Hely Hutchinson dams can provide water to Camps Bay and the high-lying areas of the City Bowl, while the Victoria, Alexandra and De Villiers dams are closer to the Constantia Nek side of the mountain and can supply water to parts of the southern suburbs, and Hout Bay, said Neilson.
“The mayor also mentioned the construction would solve Cape Town’s water problem for years to come.” An aerial cable was erected to assist its construction.