STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
Today I accompanied the City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Department as part of ongoing efforts to restrict households who, despite warnings and appeals to reduce water usage, are still using excessive amounts of water.
While the City is doing everything in its power to bring additional water online, all Capetonians must reduce their water usage to below 87 litres per person per day. We thank the water-saving heroes for all their efforts to help us beat this drought, but not everyone is doing their part. We cannot allow some people to continue abusing water while we are in the midst of an unprecedented drought.
This is the only way Cape Town can avoid Day Zero when all residents play their part and save water while the City builds new water projects. We can only save water while there is still water to save.
Despite receiving warning letters, there are still households using excessive amounts of water. This kind of behaviour is pushing Cape Town closer to Day Zero.
Today we installed water management devices at three properties: two in Pinelands and another in Thornton. The water usage of these households over the past six months ranged between 19 000 and 48 000 litres per month. This means that, on average, the daily consumption of these households often exceeded 1 000 litres per day.
Many high users maintain a stubborn attitude in this time of water scarcity and have prevented City staff and contractors from accessing their properties to install these meters.
At times, they have even become aggressive and law enforcement staff had to accompany officials to install the water meters. The City’s teams have visited these properties twice already. This is a waste of City resources and residents have no standing to prevent the City from accessing its infrastructure. The residents at these three properties also have no outstanding queries on their water accounts and have not requested a quota increase from the City.
The Water and Sanitation Department staff are working extremely long days to help the City conserve water by restricting delinquent users. We have begged people to save water, but we cannot allow the flagrant abuse of water to continue unabated.
In July Council gave City staff the power to install water management devices on premises where the water usage was unjustifiably excessive with respect to the restriction level.
The directive stated that in the event of non-compliance with Level 4b restrictions and the target of 87 litres per person per day, 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.
The City has taken actions to install water management devices at 18 597 high consumption households across the city so far where contraventions have occurred.
Since July, the City sent warning letters to approximately 50 000 households using excessive amounts of water. In August, the City started the roll-out of water management devices to restrict excessive users to 350 litres per day.
Properties where consumption above 350 litres per day is justified can, however, make representation to the City to request a quota extension by submitting an affidavit with the names and identity numbers of people residing on a property. In such cases where there are more than four people, the City will set the water management device to the appropriate level so that each person has 87 litres of water per day.
So far only a fraction of households have written to the City to request a quota extension and require more than the allocation of 350 litres per day. These requests are continually processed by the Water and Sanitation Department.
We encourage residents to be proactive and write to the City beforehand so that the City can set the water management at the correct level.
This past week, we again saw residents behaving badly because there was some rain and consumption went up to 631 million litres per day. We should be saving more water to meet the target of 500 million litres per day to move Day Zero further away. Day Zero comes when we reach 13,5% dam level capacity and the City will close almost all taps and residents will have to queue for water from around 200 collection sites.
The Water and Sanitation Department will continue to install water management devices at high consumption households every day until all Capetonians are playing their part to save.
It is unfair on all of Cape Town if only some of us are saving. The only way through this drought is together.
Residents can request a quota increase by submitting an affidavit to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting their nearest City walk-in centre.
The process and forms for requesting a quota extension can be found here: http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Apply/Municipal-services/Water-and-sanitation/Apply-for-a-water-consumption-increase