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In Numbers

There are currently seven dams in and around Cape Town supplying water to the metro. Further, the Table Mountain water source area only supplies the City with 1.6% of its water.

Size: 45 943 ha

Spanning only 45 943 hectares, Table Mountain water source area is the smallest of South Africa’s 22 water source areas.

Main Rivers

The Hout and Diep rivers are the main rivers which flow from Table Mountain water source area

Did You Know?

  • CAMISSA, meaning ‘the place of sweet waters’ is the ancient Khoi name for Cape Town.
  • Cape Town was established as a port city and a trade route centuries ago because of the availability of clean drinking water from Table Mountain.
  • The Table Mountain National Park is home to a whopping 8 200 plant species (80% fynbos).
  • The Table Mountain National Park receives approximately 4.2 million visitors each year and is the most visited of all SA’s National Parks. Over a period of six years, it contributed R377 million to SA’s Gross Domestic Product.


Land Use (in %)

  • Mining 0.71%
  • Wetlands 1.94%
  • Urban 45.48%
  • Cultivation (irrigated) 0.97%
  • Waterbodies 1.82%
  • Plantation/Woodlot 1.97%
  • Cultivation (dryland) 1.3%
  • Natural 45.81%

39% Protected Areas

Despite its iconic significance, only 39% of the Table Mountain water source area is protected. This includes the Table Mountain National Park and three local nature reserves.

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Threat Status

  • River Ecosystems
  • Wetland Ecosystems

River Ecosystems

Less than half of this water source remains in its natural condition. Further, 40% of river ecosystems in the Table Mountain water source area are critically endangered.

  • 40% Critically Endangered
  • 60% Least Threatened

Wetland Ecosystems

A shocking 75% of wetland ecosystems within the Table Mountain water source area are critically endangered.

  • 75% Critically Endangered
  • 1% Endangered
  • 1% Vulnerable
  • 24% Least Threatened


The Table Mountain water source area is an iconic natural wonder and a global tourism hot-spot. Nevertheless, urban development covers 45% of this water source area and only 39% is legally protected. With this in mind, consider potential municipal spatial and land-use planning tools that could protect this water source area.

Interactive Map

South Africa has 22 water source areas spread across five provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo). The total size of our water source areas is 12.32 million hectares. A number of these areas extend and are shared with Lesotho and Swaziland; approximately 1.91 million hectares in Lesotho and 0.93 million hectares in Swaziland.

The total volume of water supplied by these areas per year is approximately 2 457 million cubic metres. The greatest volume of recharge is generated by the Southern Drakensberg, followed by the Eastern Cape Drakensberg and the Boland Mountains.