Councillor blames Cape Town residents as water wasters

2017-01-17 18:00
Water. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Water. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Don't blame firefighting operations for the city missing its target for saving water, the City of Cape Town on Tuesday.

Tourists and residents of informal settlements are also not the culprits, said Xanthea Limberg, member of the mayoral committee for water in the city.

Instead, it is the people who are watering their gardens, washing their cars and filling their swimming pools that are making the city miss its target of using no more than 800 million litres a week so that its water reserves last until winter, when it starts raining again.

According to Limberg, 70% of the city's water use is domestic, and half of this is going toward that lush lawn, shiny car and sparkling pool.

"Water supplied to informal settlements, for firefighting, and to tourists does not come close to this figure," said Limberg.

City of Cape Town fire chief Ian Schnettler had his hands full with another fire which started on Monday night in Vredehoek and was unable to say how much water the city had used so far to put out all of the fires in his jurisdiction since the start of 2017.

But he explained that one fire truck takes 1 500l of potable water from fire hydrants, and on Monday night, 15 fire trucks were out fighting fires. If all the water was used and no more was required, that would be 22 500l.

The water buckets that helicopters tip over hard-to-reach areas also carry 1 500l of water, but they use sea water.

READ: Wave of fires 'suspicious' – City of Cape Town

Huge fine

Collective consumption for the week ending January 15 is up and stands at 890 million litres per day, compared with the 859 million litres per day for the previous week.

Dams are currently at 42.5% full and at this rate, the city's residents will go into winter with dams 20% full.

"If the dams drop to 20%, which is expected at current consumption rates, only 10% of that will be available because of how difficult it is to pump the remaining 10% out," she said.

The city does not expect to run out of water before the next rainy season, but consumption at current rates is not sustainable, she added.

On Sunday, the city reported that it had fined a man R2 000 for using potable water to hose down concrete and asked residents during an operation in Tygerberg and Goodwood to prove that they used borehole water to water their gardens.

"We have the ability now to turn this situation around. And we will only be able to do this if water use is reduced and members of the public help us to do so.

"Any finger-pointing or buck-passing on this issue will not help us reach our target," said Limberg.

Members of the public have been urged to report those contravening the level 3 restrictions here.

Read more on:    cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis  |  water

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