The City of Cape Town has begun reducing water pressure to large areas of the city in an attempt to force users to lower their water consumption.

To date, residents continue to use around 600-million litres of water per day – way above the target of 450-million, despite various pleas from the city’s water management authorities. Along with the reduction in pressure, the city is also installing water management devices to curtail consumption by heavy users.

Speaking to Cape Town Etc, Director of Water and Sanitation for the City of Cape Town, Peter Flower said: “We are rolling out devices to restrict consumption for the big users. We are installing over 2500 per week and in fact, are working towards installing 3000 per week. That rollout is there as a deterrent. Once you get your allocation according to the latest water restrictions the water shuts off.

Peter Flower – Director of Water and Sanitation, City of Cape Town

“If people are not voluntarily changing we feel we have to force you now, with the water management devices. We’re busy with a very aggressive pressure reduction programme. Large areas of Cape Town are going to see huge pressure reductions in their water supply, and we’ll be rolling this out more and more over the next few weeks. And in that way try to depress the demand as much as possible.”

Day Zero, when taps across the province will be turned off, has been moved forward to 12 April, from 21 April, meaning the city’s water supplies are at a critical level. The city’s plans to augment its water supply are still in place, but authorities are adamant that if daily consumption is reduced to around 450-million, Day Zero can be pushed back again.

“We want to focus people’s attention on avoiding Day Zero. We will be prepared for it, but we want people to think about what they can do to avoid it rather than get into a panic. We will have plans in place. It’s going to be difficult. Everyone is going to really be uncomfortable,” Flower said.

Flower was clear that the city will not be moving to water shedding – where taps are switched off completely in certain areas and then switched back on again. “We will not be moving to water shedding. We know from international experience that you don’t actually save water by doing that. You end up wasting more water than you’re trying to save, because it results in people stockpiling more water than they really need, which leads to wastage,” he explained.

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.