Effective from December 1, Cape water restrictions will be lowered from level 5 to level 3, increasing the allowed water usage per person to 105 litres a day.
In addition, residents can expect a reduction in water tariffs, and those who use less than 6 000 liters per month may pay 35% less.
The City of Cape Town decided the water restriction levels would be moved down to level 3 after an assessment was conducted by the National Department of Water and Sanitation.
The assessment proposed that the city saves 10%-20% of urban water, but the City has decided to implement a 30% saving in order to help maintain dam levels and due to the uncertainty of rainfall patterns in 2019.
A meeting held between the National Department of Water and Sanitation, water users of the Western Cape Water Supply System, Western Cape Government, municipalities and the Cape Town metro confirmed the decision to reduce the current restrictions.
Under the level 5 restrictions presently in place, residents must adhere to 70 litres per person per day, while the overall collective consumption target is 500 million litres per day.
With level 3 water restrictions, the city’s collective water usage target will be 650 million litres a day.
Businesses will no longer have the current 40% water restrictions as effective from December 1, but the City encourages the sector to continue employing water-saving efforts nevertheless.
The City of Cape Town’s executive mayor, Dan Plato, urges residents to keep on saving water even in light of the lowered restrictions.
“While the drought is not yet over, we have seen that there is room to bring some relief to our residents. I know it has been tough and I hope that this reduction in tariffs will bring some comfort over the festive season. We will still need to be water-wise though, as we do not know what the next rainy season holds,” Plato says.
“We are situated in a water-scarce region and the water-wise efforts and ways to diversify and augment our water supply should and will continue.”
The City has decided to take a conservative approach to water saving, Plato says.
“‘If one looks at international drought experience, water restrictions are either implemented too late or lifted too early. Hence our decision to take a conservative approach to the recovery while we continue to monitor the situation.”
City Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, explains that the relaxed restrictions and tariffs will provide much needed financial relief to Cape Town residents and businesses.
“This is not only a period of recovery for our dams, but also for our economy as a whole as well as for our residents and businesses who truly made huge sacrifices to help us get Cape Town through the drought,” says Limberg.
The agricultural sector will only reduce water usage by 10% due to the negative impact of the drought on its economic status.