STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND WASTE SERVICES; AND ENERGY, COUNCILLOR XANTHEA LIMBERG.
The City of Cape Town’s Council today, 26 January 2017, approved the implementation of tougher water restrictions from 1 February 2017. Among others, the use of potable water for non-essential use will be further restricted.
The Level 3b restrictions come as a result of the severe drought that is being experienced and the repeated failure to reach the intended water savings target of 800 million litres of collective water use per day. As at 23 January 2017, the average consumption was 80 million litres above this target and dam levels had dropped to 40,4%. It must be borne in mind that it is very difficult to extract the remaining 10% of a dam’s capacity.
The National Department of Water and Sanitation, in its statement of 6 January 2017, pointed out that the South African Weather Service had predicted a reduced likelihood of chances of above normal rainfall country-wide between January and April 2017. They implied a dam level recovery rate of beyond three years. Therefore, unless there is a rapid and significant change to rainfall patterns, there is still a long road to recovery and that we face the possibility of yet another ‘not-so-wet’ winter, they reported.
The City must therefore urgently further intensify the current restriction measures by introducing Level 3b restrictions. The approval of the 3b fine schedule by the Magistrates’ Court is expected to be in place shortly. A higher amount for spot fines of R5 000 has been proposed as part of the fine schedule.
Differences between Level 3 and 3b restrictions:
|Level 3||Level 3b|
|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 can. No use of hosepipes or automatic sprinkler systems is allowed. Watering times are not restricted, however, residents are urged to limit their watering to the mornings and evenings.||Watering/irrigation (with municipal drinking water) of flower beds, lawns, vegetables and other plants, sports fields, parks and other open spaces is allowed only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property and only if using a bucket or watering can. No use of hosepipes or any sprinkler systems allowed.|
|No watering/irrigation is allowed within 24 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt.||No watering/irrigation is allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt.|
|Washing (using potable water) of vehicles and boats only is allowed if using a bucket.||No washing of vehicles or boats using municipal drinking water is allowed at residential/business/industrial properties. Vehicles and boats must be washed with non-potable water or washed at a commercial carwash.|
Further to the above:
- No irrigation using potable water will be permitted at City facilities
- No increase of the indigent water allocation over and above the free 350 litres a day will be granted, unless through prior application and permission
Exemptions granted under Level 3 are being reviewed with the possibility of being revoked, with the option for reapplication. Current water users with exemptions under Level 3 must adhere to Level 3b irrigation days and times.
Regular enforcement blitzes will remain in place and we are also getting ready to target the highest 20 000 water users in the metro. We will imminently advise them of punitive measures that might be taken, such as fines for transgressions or the installation of water restriction devices if they do not reduce their usage by 20%. The majority of these high users are households in formal residential areas and have been identified as consuming 50 kilolitres per month. Prior to the water restrictions coming into effect, the average use per household used to be well under 1 000 litres per day or below about 30 kilolitres per month.
Along with all these efforts, we need members of the public to help us to bring culprits to book. Residents can contact the City via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for queries or to report contraventions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts).
For further information, residents should please visit our water restrictions page on the website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater.