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Today,  I joined the City of Cape Town’s Water Inspectorate in officially kicking off the installation of water management devices to restrict high consumption households across Cape Town.

The latest measure as part of our drought interventions comes as all households consuming over 20 000 litres per month were warned to reduce their consumption. Inspectors began visiting the users in excess of 60 000 litres per month and issued further warnings.

In July, as part of Level 4B water restrictions, the City issued a directive in terms of the Water By-law which empowers the City to install water management devices on premises where the water usage is unjustifiably excessive with respect to the restriction level.

The directive stated that in the event of non-compliance with Level 4b water restrictions and the 87 litres per person per day target, the City will, in terms of Section 36(4) of the By-law, at its discretion, install water management devices at premises where non-compliance is occurring.Water management devices will be installed at households where high consumption cannot be justified or has not been rectified despite warnings.

During July and August, the City sent letters to approximately 21 500 households warning them that if their excessive use was not corrected and justified, we would be installing water management devices.

Water management devices will be installed at properties where more than seven working days have been allowed for action to be taken by the customer.

The property owner will be billed for the installation of the water management device at cost of between R4 560 and R4 732.

Of the 21 500 letters that have been sent so far, only 281 households wrote back to the City to request a quota extension, meaning they have more than four people on their property and require an allocation higher than the 350 litre per day allocation for the households. These requests will be evaluated by the Water Inspectorate.

Households will be restricted to 350 litres per day and where there is more than the average number of four people per household, as justified in the application made to the City to increase their quota, the City will set the water meter to a daily target that would allow each person to use their 87 litres per day in line with Level 4b restrictions.

Today we installed water management devices at two properties: one in Constantia and one in Claremont. These households’ water usage over the past six months ranged between 60 000 and 120 000 litres per month. This means that on average the daily consumption of these households was between 2 000 and 3 300 litres per day.

This is extremely unfair to the majority of residents who are saving water as we are in a severe drought and we have not received our usual winter rains.

The Water Inspectorate is continuing with the installation of water management devices at high consumption households every day over the next few weeks.

The City reminds households that it is the property owner’s duty to detect and repair water leaks.

We have issued more than enough warnings and pleaded with residents to reduce consumption, but there are still too many people who continue to flout water restrictions.

We thank the many Capetonians who have employed numerous simple and innovative ways to save water. They have helped us to stretch our reserves and continue to make a great impact in terms of the overall water saving efforts.

But the time for asking people to reduce excessive consumption is over and we will now forcibly restrict those households who continue to contravene water restrictions.

This is a clear warning to all of the other households who continue to use water as normal or fail to check for and repair leaks on their properties. With drought as the New Normal, we need a drastic change in our behaviour and this requires everyone to do their part.

I will be making further announcements on the City’s Water Resilience Plan at my office tomorrow in terms of the alternative water sources the City will be tapping into over the short- to medium-term to augment our water supplies and avoid acute water shortages.

Saving water remains the most impactful and cost-effective intervention and so I appeal to all residents to continue saving water while we still have water to be saved. We have to do all we can to prevent our dam levels from dropping to extremely dangerous levels and this can only happen if we work together.

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