Harsher water restrictions approved for Cape Town

2017-01-26 17:30
Water tap. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Water tap. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town approved stricter water restrictions in a full council meeting on Thursday, effective from February 1.

The move comes after "repeated failure" to reach the intended saving target of 800 million litres of collective water use per day, said mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy Xanthea Limberg.

The increased restrictions essentially mean that the use of drinkable water for non-essential purposes will be further constrained.

Dam levels had dropped to 40.4%, said Limberg.

"The National Department of Water and Sanitation [earlier this month] 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," she explained.

"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 approval of the fine schedule by magistrate's courts should also be in place shortly, and spot fines of R5 000 had been proposed, Limberg said.

READ: City of Cape Town to close tap on water wasters

High users to be targeted

The increased restrictions means that watering and irrigation may only take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00, for not more than one hour a day, and with the use of a bucket or watering can.

This is, however, not allowed within two days of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Those using boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt, the City warned.

No vehicles or boats may be washed using drinking water and should only be washed with non-potable water or at a commercial carwash.

"Further… no irrigation using potable water will be permitted at city facilities and 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," Limberg said.

Council would also "target" the highest 20 000 water users in the city, she warned.

"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%," Limberg said.

"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."

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

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