Level 2 water restrictions for Mother City

Cape Town - The Cape Town City Council on Thursday approved level two water restrictions during its final council meeting for 2015.

In a statement, the City said this would have implications on water accounts, while also getting residents to tighten up on their use.

According to the amendment, when watering gardens, parks and open spaces with alternative water sources like rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse, treated effluent water, well points and boreholes, residents were encouraged to do this only before 09:00 or after 18:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Appropriate signage must also be registered with the City and be clearly visible from a public thoroughfare.

This after residents expressed dissatisfaction with the stringent measures being applied to those who had already taken steps to use alternative water sources to reduce their consumption, the City said.

"As we are situated in a water-scarce region, the City imposes level one restrictions [10% water savings] at all times. Because the city’s dam levels are lower than the norm for this time of year, it was proposed [it] implement level two restrictions [20% savings] to preserve the long-term sustainability of the resource."

Water may taste different

From January 1, water users would be charged according to a tariff designed to be revenue-neutral when applied to the 10% reduced consumption levels. 

"In other words, if the customer reduces their consumption by 10%, their bill should remain at a similar rand value. Indigent customers' free allocation will not be affected nor will the free first six kilolitres a month for all residents."

Furthermore, the City warned that changes to the bulk water distribution system could intermittently impact on water pressure, clarity or taste in some areas of the northern and central suburbs. 

This was due to the low level of the Voëlvlei Dam.

"Resultant flow changes in some of the water pipelines may temporarily cause cloudiness or a slight discolouration in the water. Residents with sensitive palates may also notice a slight change in the taste of their water as it will now be coming from a different mix of sources," the City said. 

Residents in other parts of the city may have experienced an earthy taste and odour to their drinking water caused by low levels of the chemical compound geosmin in dam waters. 

The City assured that this was a naturally occurring compound and was neither toxic nor harmful to health. All water supplied would be entirely safe for human consumption.

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