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Cape Town implements stricter water restrictions

By Jessica Anne Wood

Level 2 water restrictions were implemented in Cape Town on 1 January of this year. With the drought still ongoing and water shortages posing a challenge, the city has recommended the implementation of level 3 restrictions.

In a statement released by the City of Cape Town on Tuesday it said: “The City’s Mayoral Committee has recommended to Council that Level 3 water restrictions be implemented as of 1 November 2016.”

The recommendation was approved by the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee, and the new water restrictions will be effective as of 1 November 2016. Corresponding tariff increases will be implemented on 1 December 2016.

This is in line with the directive from the National Department of Water and Sanitation to reduce demand on the Western Cape Water Supply System by 20%. The report will now appear before Council on 26 October 2016 for final deliberation,” added the City of Cape Town.

Level 3 water restrictions

Level 3 water restrictions aim for a 30% reduction in water usage. The increased water restrictions for residents include the following:

  • Watering/irrigation (with drinking water from municipal supply) of gardens, lawns, flower beds and other plants, vegetable gardens, sports fields, parks and other open spaces is allowed only if using a bucket or watering container. No use of hosepipes or automatic sprinkler systems is allowed.
  • Cars and boats may only be washed with water from buckets.
  • Manual topping up of swimming pools is allowed only if pools are fitted with a pool cover. No automatic top-up systems are allowed.
  • No portable play pools are permitted.

Tariff increases

The proposed tariff increases for level 3 water restrictions compared to those charged for level 2 water restrictions are as follows:

The City of Cape Town explained that the tariff is designed so that the price per kilolitre of water goes up once the resident’s use for the month exceeds certain levels. As such, the first six kilolitres of water are free, thereafter, there is an increase in the cost per kilolitre.

Alderman Ernest Sonnenberg, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for utility services, noted: “Cape Town residents as a whole did not achieve the consistent 10% reduction in water use that was mandated from 1 January 2016. If we continue to use water as we did on Level 2 restrictions over the coming summer months, the dams are at risk of falling to 15% by the end of the summer period. Following on, if we experience poor rainfall next rainy season, we could find our dams at approximately 50% this time next year.”

He added: “During drought cycles, such as the one being experienced, water restrictions and other water-saving and optimisation measures are necessary to ensure that water use does not exceed available water supply from the system of dams providing the city and broader region with water. We have a collective responsibility to use water sparingly and ensure that the dams are not drawn down to very low levels over the coming summer period. While this may cause a certain amount of inconvenience and cost burden to our residents and businesses, it is important that we take a longer-term view and consider the possibility of the drought extending into the next winter rainfall period.”

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