UPDATE: Icy 3-day cold snap looms but Cape drought remains severe

Cape Town - South Africans can expect a cold snap to affect most the country during the latter part of this week - from Wednesday onward.

But more rain does not mean the drought-hit Western Cape is in the clear. 

ALSO SEE: ALERT: Wild fire warning as cold snap brings gusty winds to parts of SA

Heavy rain and disruptive snow

The South African Weather Service says particularly cold daytime temperatures are expected to dominate the south-western parts on Wednesday, 16 August 2017, spreading to include the central and eastern parts on Thursday.

SA Weather spokesperson Garth Sampson says rain and showers are expected over the south-western parts of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.

SEE: ALERT: 3-day cold snap to affect most of SA, bringing disruptive snow, heavy rain and gale-force wind

The South African Weather Service says it will monitor further developments and issue subsequent updates as required.  

It warns significant snowfall can also be expected over the southern and central Drakensberg, while the KZN coast and adjacent interior can expect heavy rainfall, flooding, disruptive winds.  The forecast indicates that the weather system is expected to exit the country by Friday 18 August, "when rainfall will be restricted to the eastern extremities of the country, heralding a return to dry, settled weather this weekend".

Western Cape water consumption remains dangerously high

The City of Cape Town says water consumption remains dangerously high at 110 million litres above the 500 million litres of collective usage per day.  

It has suggested that all water users urgently adjust the water-isolating valves (stopcocks) on their properties to reduce the flow rate and save water.

Dam storage levels are currently at 31,1%, with useable water at approximately 21,1%. Collective consumption for the past week was 610 million litres per day.

SEE: Cape Town Water Crisis: Surrounded by two oceans, is desalination the solution?

Accountability when it comes to wastage

The city says adjustment to stopcocks to reduce the flow of water as well as reporting contraventions of the water restrictions would help tremendously as it looks to intensify its pressure reduction programme.  Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille is also expected to announce the City’s Water Resilience Plan on Thursday 17 August 2017.

“Pressure adjustments on bulk supply lines have helped to reduce consumption over recent months, and it is hoped that significant further reductions could be achieved if residents also reduce flow through the private-side isolating valve,” says  the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

 “There is no single solution to this drought crisis. We are therefore looking at all possible options,” says Limberg. 

What you need to know about adjusting your Stopcock:

A stopcock valve looks like the top part of a typical garden tap. It is the control tap which is used to isolate the private water installation. The stopcock is typically installed on the property between 1 to 1,5 m in from the front boundary.

•         Close the stopcock by turning it in a clockwise direction, and open it again - about a half turn - this should ideally be done during the day. 
•         Go to the tap furthest away from the stopcock (this could be inside the house, in the back garden/yard or in an upstairs bathroom)
•         Open the cold water tap and see if there is sufficient water flowing
•         If required, adjust the stopcock a half turn at a time until a reasonable but reduced flow rate of water to the furthest cold water tap is achieved

For information on how to meet the 87-litre per day usage requirement, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website and utilise our water calculator.

Residents can contact the City via email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries about the water pressure reduction, or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts), or they can send an SMS to 31373.

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