Guiding consumers since 2009

Drought crisis critical: Level 4 water restrictions implemented

By Jessica Anne Wood

The City of Cape Town has announced that water can only be used for drinking, washing and cooking. Level 4 water restrictions came into effect today, which bans the use of municipal water for outside and non-essential purposes.

Dam levels are currently at 21.2% (storage levels), with the last 10% of a dam’s water being mostly unusable, water levels are essential at 11.2%.

“We are essentially saying that you are only allowed to use a bit of water for drinking, cooking and washing. We are reaching a critical point in this drought crisis. Although we continue to work non-stop to force consumption down, overall use remains catastrophically high. This is not a request. We have seen huge saving-efforts, but the unseasonably hot autumn is exacerbating the situation and we must all do more,” stressed City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, councillor Xanthea Limberg.

He added: “Rain or shine, we are now at a point where all consumers must use below 100 litres per day. Stop flushing toilets when not necessary, shower for less than two minutes a day or use a wet cloth for a ‘wipe-down’, collect all would-be wasted water and use it to fill up toilet cisterns, among others.”

Preparing for low water levels

The City highlighted that dredging operations have started at the Voëlvlei Dam to prepare for low-level extraction of water. The City is engaging with the lead authority, the National Department of Water and Sanitation, as a matter of urgency to request dredging operations at Theewaterskloof Dam too.

“In a severe drought such as what we are dealing with, the only real immediate intervention is to cut usage. Over this coming week, we must bring consumption down with 100 million litres of water per day. The City also warns businesses to start implementing contingency and alternative water measures in their own operations,” said Limberg.

Take the proper precautions

With its call for consumers to use water only for drinking, washing and cooking, the City has suggested:

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary. Don’t use it as a dustbin. “If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • Take a short 2-minute shower. A standard (non –water-saving) showerhead can use as much as 16 litres per minute.
  • Collect your shower, bath and basin water and re-use it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning. *Greywater use has some health and hygiene. Be careful about where and how you recycle greywater. Keep hands and surface areas sanitised/disinfected.
  • Defrost foods in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water.
  • Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen, for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking, etc.
  • Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.
  • Switch to an efficient showerhead which uses no more than 10 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.
  • Upgrade to a multi-flush toilet and/or put a water displacement item in the cistern which can halve your water use per flush.
  • Fit taps with aerators or restrictors to reduce flow to no more than six litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.

 

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