Stunning time-lapse images show how Cape Town's biggest dam has filled up

Business Insider SA

Move the arrows to compare the 'before' and 'after' images.

Dam levels in the Western Cape have seen a strong recovery, following good rainfall.

It's hard to believe that just a few months ago, the day Cape Town was to run out of water, the dreaded Day Zero, seemed imminent. 

From only 57% in September 2017, the Berg River dam is now at 97% capacity, while the Voëlvlei dam has recovered from 26% in 2017 to 73%.

See also: How Cape Town avoided Day Zero and cut its water usage by 50% in 3 years - it took Melbourne 12 years to do the same

The biggest dam in the province, Theewaterskloof (which serves more than 40% of Cape Town's water needs), has recovered from 27% to 49%.

Glenn Moncrieff, a data scientist at the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), has captured stunning time-lapse images of the dam coming back to life:

He used a program called Planet, which gathers images from 204 bread-loaf sized satellites. These beam back images of more than 300 square kilometres daily. With the help of constellations called Dove, SkySat and RapidEye, they have been able to gather data from as far back as 10 years without interruption.

NASA has also weighed in with an animation based on Landsat imagery

This animation shows the condition of the reservoir at two month intervals between 2015 and 2018. The images were taken with NASA's Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. Water appears dark blue and areas where the bottom of the reservoir was dry and exposed are light blue. 

At one stage the dam almost looked like a river.  

Aerial footage, published on News24, captures the different stages of the three-year drought from November 2016 until March 2018.

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