The people of Johannesburg have been warned to save water – or face strict water restrictions and even water shortages.
“We want to inform residents that our water resources are under incredible strain,” says Virgil James, spokesperson for the Johannesburg Municipality.
“People seem to be under the impression that we no longer have a water shortage, but the rainy season hasn’t started yet and our dam levels are very low.”
“We normally get thunderstorms by the end of August, but this hasn’t happened yet. It might start by the end of September, but we want to urge residents to save water,” James says.
He says "water shedding" (similar to load shedding of electricity) has not been implemented yet, but are a distinct possibility if residents don’t start saving water immediately.
At the moment, the water system will be "throttled" between 8 pm and 4 pm in areas where there is high demand. This means that the water flow will be reduced.
“The normal rules still apply," James says. "Shower, rather than taking long baths. Don’t waste water between 6 am and 6 pm.” According to the City of Johannesburg’s Twitter account, 40 percent of water usage in the city is used to water gardens. 15 percent of this can be saved by refraining from watering the garden between 8 am and 4 pm.
So what's not allowed?
- As of Wednesday 7 September, sprinkler systems cannot be used at all. Residents can use only hose pipes, buckets and water cans to water their gardens.
- Similarly, no hose pipes should be used to wash cars or driveways.
- Pools cannot be filled by using municipal water; only borehole water may be used for that.
The restrictions will be lifted as soon as Gauteng receives "good rainfalls", City of Joburg said on their website.
If you're caught breaking the rules, you could be in for a hefty fine
"We have to bring in JMPD," Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services Anthony Still says.
"JMPD has probably never been asked to help with this sort of stuff. We'll ask them to issue a fine if they see sprinklers going. And that will be added to the water bill."
The fines will be between R1 000 and R1 500 per offence, News24 reports.
If you spot your neighbour flouting the rules, you can report them.
"We will be releasing info on the city's hotline where people can report non-compliance," Still says.
You can call their 24/7 line 011 758 9650.
New water restriction tariffs are also set to be implemented for high usage
- 10% extra on consumption of between 20 000 litres and 30 000 litres/month
- 20% extra on consumption of between 30 000 and 40 000 litres/month
- A 30% increase will be implemented for consumption above 40 000 litres/month