Cape Town’s water usage recently decreased from over one billion litres per day to 936 million litres a day. Despite this decrease, current usage is still considerably higher than the target of 850 million litres per day, which the public is encouraged to stay under.
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The aim is to help keep the dam and reservoirs fuller for longer. In order to promote this message, the City’s water inspectorate has been conducting inspections at properties around Cape Town to ensure that residents comply with the requirements of the water by-laws.
The City is calling for a 50% reduction, which can be achieved through various measures, such as limiting garden watering to before 9am and after 6pm each day and doing so less frequently. Another way is to ensure pools have a cover to minimise evaporation losses.
“Water usage is high, and dam levels are dropping. We are urging residents and businesses to help the City by doing the right thing to use less water this summer, particularly those who have gardens and pools, as the water used for these often results in extra high (peak) summer usage in the heat every year. Reducing this non-essential use helps keep our dams and reservoirs fuller for longer to benefit all of us in the long run. We had below-average rainfall last year, and this could happen again this year. Using less water will also help reduce the impact of ongoing load-shedding on our water supply system.”
“We all use water every day – indoors and outdoors – so we all have the opportunity to save. Let’s all be water wise, particularly outdoors, and comply with schedule 1 of the City’s Water By-law. At this stage, a transgressor can be issued a spot fine each time they are caught in the act of transgressing the by-law, such as not watering at the correct times and the swimming pool not being covered.”
“Checking properties for compliance with the City’s Water By-law is one of the ways the City aims to help reduce water wastage. Other ongoing efforts include programmes such as leak detection in the City’s water supply pipeline network, annual pipe replacement, and pressure management. Cape Town, we are in this together. We have done this before so I am confident we can work together again – this time to cut non-essential outdoor water use in half to stay below the 850 million litres daily usage target. Thank you to our residents who are complying,” said Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation Councillor Siseko Mbandezi.
A summary of the water inspectors’ responsibilities:
The City’s water inspectorate is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the water by-laws and its related policies, standards and procedures by:
- Conducting regular/daily building site inspections to ensure proper water-related installation materials are used and are SABS approved; also to ensure compliance with the relevant SANS code of practices with the aim to issue a Certificate of Approval on completion.
- Engaging with contractors/plumbers daily, regarding construction projects in progress. This is to ensure legislative compliance, water conservation, prevention of water contamination and availability of a sustainable water supply.
- Attending to complaints (e.g water quality related, theft and wastage, etc) and educating the public on how to preserve this precious resource and the importance of working with us to satisfy the water by-law requirements.
- Inspecting plumbing installations under construction and issuing relevant Certificates of Compliance as may be required; e.g investigating existing alternate water systems such as well points, boreholes, rainwater tanks, etc, where the consumer has failed to notify the City of such installations. This is to ensure that the installation complies with the City’s guidelines and water-related by-laws for safe use, and to minimise any health risks that may arise. It is also to check that plumbing is being done properly and won’t result in water losses in future. Furthermore, such inspections seek to ensure that rainwater from gutters is not being directed into the sewer system as this will create flooding and result in sewer overflows, etc.
- Conducting blitz operations/targeted enforcement on certain by-law measures in areas as and when required, sometimes done with other enforcement agencies e.g water pollution control inspectors; solid waste, environmental health, supported by law enforcement; Green and Blue Scorpions from the province and national departments mandated as custodians of the environment and water, consecutively.
- Issuing contravention notices, section 56 (spot fines) and section 54 (summons) of the Criminal Procedure Act for by-law contraventions where required.
“Thank you to our water inspectorate team who are out and about daily, doing the best they can to ensure that water is saved through various interventions. This is not an easy task because of factors such as staff safety and challenges with tracing transgressors. But every intervention matters, as every drop of water counts,” said Councillor Mbandezi in conclusion.
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Picture: City of Cape Town