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Cape Town residents have proved that when it comes to the crunch, they will do what it takes to save water. Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has been a valuable resource in both creating employment and supplementing services. The latest partnership, this time with the City’s Water and Sanitation Department, sees EPWP workers assisting with enforcement of water restrictions. Despite the recent rains, adherence to water restrictions remains important. Read more below:

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg, would like to thank and congratulate Cape Town residents for pulling together in this time of water need as a look at figures over the past three months reveals efforts that are truly heartening. Residents have succeeded in saving 10% on their consumption and should be proud of this fact.Meanwhile, the City is pleased with the progress being made following the recruitment of 20 EPWP workers to assist with enforcement of water restrictions. These workers have been on the ground for approximately three weeks and have assisted in both creating awareness and issuing notices and fines for contraventions. Of the 20 recruits, 16 have been drafted to assist in blitz operations taking place throughout the city, while the remaining four have been incorporated into a special project to address water wastage in the informal sector.

For blitz operations, these appointees will team up with a water inspector and senior technical assistant to enforce compliance with the designated watering times, the use of controlling and automatic stopping devices on the end of hosepipes, watering down of paved areas, and the display of appropriate signage for boreholes and well points. These extra sets of eyes have proved invaluable in identifying contraventions, especially on Sundays when many residents do garden work.

The special project in the informal sector was initiated after experience in the early stages of water restrictions showed that the enforcement of restrictions in these areas required additional sensitivity due to the communal nature of water facilities. As such, specialised enforcement that takes cognisance of these sensitivities and the dynamics of our informal settlements was required. Officials working in these areas have therefore received special training in order to facilitate the uptake of water savings measures in this context, and have been maintaining a presence around communal standpipes and informal car washes.

This campaign is in addition to ongoing initiatives by the City where teams are sent to schools, churches, hotels, shopping malls and business districts to raise awareness across the city about water conservation.

In December 2015, 10 full-time EPWP workers were employed as liaison officers to engage with consumers on the Level 2 water restrictions and on how they can reduce their water consumption, as part of the City’s initiative to inform and encourage residents to move to water saving practices.

The workers have been placed at some of the major nurseries across the city to engage with visitors and staff. They are sharing water saving tips and advising residents on alternatives such as moving to water-wise or indigenous plants. Since December 2015, the project has reached, on average, 9 000 customers at nine nurseries on a monthly basis.

‘While the recent rains and cooler weather have provided a small degree of relief, I would like to call on residents to please renew their efforts to save water. A sustained effort through winter is required to give our dam levels the best chance to recover.

‘That being said, the indications we have available at this stage show that residents are collectively managing to reduce their consumption by 10%, and for this we commend them. It is very encouraging to see that, through the efforts of the City and the residents themselves, a culture of responsible water use is taking root,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.

Blitz operations and awareness initiatives will continue in the coming months. Residents are reminded that, should access to their property be requested, they are legally required to allow this.

For more information on water restrictions, residents can visithttp://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Pages/Counciltoconsiderimplementingwaterrestrictions.aspx

To report a leak, burst pipe, or contravention, residents should please contact the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089, or send an SMS to 31373. Such reports are a crucial part of ensuring that water wastage is addressed as timeously as possible.

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