January 24, 2018 / 8:31 AM / 4 months ago

Dams that supply South Africa's Cape Town fall further as water crisis looms

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Water levels at dams that supply South Africa’s Cape Town fell further this week, data showed on Wednesday, the latest sign of a deepening crisis that could soon see people forced to queue for water rations.

FILE PHOTO: Residents walk past a leaking communal tap in Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, South Africa, December 12, 2017. Picture taken December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Dam levels in South Africa’s Western Cape province fell to 25.3 percent on Monday from 26.6 percent the previous week, and from nearly 40 percent a year ago, according to data from the department of water affairs.

City authorities have said residents will have to queue for water when levels drop to 13.5 percent, a figure expected to be reached in April.

Cape Town told residents last week they would need to cut their daily water consumption by almost half from next month as authorities scramble to prevent the city running out of water.

The water crisis poses a risk to a vibrant tourist industry that sees almost 2 million visitors flock to Cape Town every year.

South Africa, the world’s seventh biggest wine producer, is expected to see the smallest harvest in more than a decade in 2018 because of the drought.

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Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Joe Brock

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