The Department of Water and Sanitation will assess whether the current level 6B water restrictions imposed on the City of Cape Town and surrounds will be relaxed or not in an official meeting on Friday 20 July.
The regional head of the Department, Rashid Khan, said that there had been requests from users of the Western Cape Water Supply System, including the City of Cape Town, to reduce the water restrictions now that the provincial dam average sits at 55.8% of storage capacity.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the meeting, but I can say we, as national government, will sit together around the table with all the users on Friday and talk about the possibility of relooking at the restrictions,” Khan said to News24. “There have been requests to the minister about this. We are in a much more favourable position now than we were, and we want to look at how we can go forward. The restrictions are a little bit harsh at the moment.”
This is the first time since the restrictions were first gazetted that National Government has said that it will consider easing the current restrictions.
Previously, the Department said that it would only consider relaxing the restrictions at the end of the rainy season, which is September or early October, or if dams reach a provincial average of 85% before then.
As the drought crisis was the worst the province has experienced in 100 years, the Department has cut water supply to the agricultural sector in the province by 60% and cut water use in the City of Cape Town by 45%.
This time last year, the average provincial dam capacity sat at 26% – just under half the 55.8% it is today.
On Thursday, City of Cape Town Deputy Mayor, Ian Neislon, said that he would like to see the water restrictions eased back progressively from level 6B, to the less severe levels 5 and 4.
“This is so that the impact on water demand can be progressively assessed for each level before deciding on a further move,” he said.
Picture: Clanwilliam Dam/Twitter