The City of Cape Town launched its controversial water map on Monday in a bid to help the Western Cape cope with the crippling drought crisis.
The map enables residents to check up on their neighbours’ water habits.
Some residents have criticised the initiative, but the city has hit back, saying the project will help raise awareness of water consumption.
“The potential water-saving benefit for all of Cape Town of making water consumption indicators publicly available outweighs any privacy issues at this stage of the crisis,” said Zara Nicholson‚ spokesperson for Mayor Patricia de Lille.
“This behaviour-modification tool attempts to acknowledge good savers and encourage those who have yet to join the efforts.”
The water map marks residential properties using less than the prescribed 10 500 litres per month with green dots.
“We thank all of our water savers who are working hard to avoid day zero which is estimated to kick in on the 22 of April. Some 54% of our consumers are saving water to avoid Day Zero,” the City said in a statement.
The map colour-codes properties as follows:
- Dark green dot: household using less than 6,000 litres per month;
- Light green dot: household using between 6,000 and 10,500 litres per month;
- Grey dot: estimated readings when the water meter is not read for some reason‚ or if no information is available for the property.
“The greener we go, the more we push Day Zero away. The map shows that many households across Cape Town are working hard to save water as part of the effort to get us through our worst drought,” said the City.
About 65% of the city’s water allocation is used in residential areas. According to the city’s water crisis dashboard, only 54% of residents are sticking to the 87 litres-per-day limit per person.
“By making consumption information available, we believe it will assist residents and communities to better manage water consumption. It is crucial for everyone to play their part,” the city said.