Water crisis in Cape Town!

6 Sept 2017

As the province moves into the spring and summer seasons with little prospects for rain, the City of Cape Town has announced tougher water restrictions by raising the water consumption alert to level 5.

The new restrictions include a cap on individual domestic property usage and sets it at 20kl per month.

Residents who use more than this will be subjected to a very high fine. All users are also required to remain vigilant with regards to water use. The City said that further measures to reduce water pressure will commence immediately.

The usage in this month will determine what actions delinquent users will be subject to thereafter. Where non-compliance occurs, users can be subject to an admission of guilt fine or, in accordance with Section 36(4) of the City’s Water By-law, the installation of a water management device (the cost of which will be billed to the account holder).

Installation of these devices in the households of the most excessive users commenced three weeks ago and will be ramped up in the coming weeks.

Further pressure reduction is likely to result in supply interruptions being experienced in higher-lying areas of the City’s supply zones for short periods during the day. Multi-storey buildings that do not make use of pumps and overhead tanks as required by the City’s building regulations are likely to experience supply problems.

Residents are encouraged to approach their body corporates or managing agents to ensure that these systems are in place and operational.

Residents are advised to keep an emergency store of between 2-5 litres of water for drinking and basic hygiene at all times.

Managers of commercial properties are urged with immediate effect to ensure that their monthly consumption of municipal supply water is reduced by 20% compared with a year ago.

“Measures to drive down consumption to 500 million litres of water per day are supplemented by other measures to augment the supply of water from non-surface water options by up to 500 million litres of water per day, which are currently under way. Together these actions form part of the approach to building water resilience over the short-to-medium term,” mayor Patricia de Lille said.

De Lille also noted the immense effort that many residents have taken to reduce their water consumption.

“Since July 1, the City’s goal has been to reduce consumption to 500 million litres per day. As of last week, consumption stood at 599 million litres per day. With the winter rainfall season likely to end in the next three to four weeks, we simply have to get used to using less water,” De Lille said.

The new water restrictions however has not received a welcoming reception.

“As Cosatu we have long said that their is a serious water crisis looming. The mayor and the premier have lied constantly to communities regarding the water issue,” Cosatu’s Western Cape general secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, said.

“The problem is that there are costs involved when implementing these levels and new water restrictions. And the problem is that the City’s projects that it wants to pursue will only come later into effect.”

Experts have also voiced their concerns regarding the new level 5 water restrictions, “This new water restriction is long over due and I think we should’ve woken up much earlier,” Chief executive of South African company AIRWATER Ray de Vries said.

Last week, the Cape Argus reported that the army will be called in to help dispense water and emergency purification services in preparation for day zero, probably in December.