The Karoo town of Prince Albert is facing water shedding, as the Western Cape drought tightens its grip on the province.

The town relies on eight boreholes and a fountain from the Swartberg Mountains for its water supply, but as the Cape’s dams run dry, the Prince Albert municipality is considering water shedding to address the crisis.

The town uses around 2-million litres per day, more than double the desired amount. Currently, Level 2 water restrictions have been implemented, allowing only 90 litres of water to be used by residents per day.

Municipal manager, Heinrich Mettler, told EWN: “Most of the residents are adhering to our requests but there are some who don’t. What we’ve done is start a more intensive awareness programme, where we send out Facebook and WhatsApp messages, so more people are telling their neighbours not to use the water.”

According to the City of Cape Town, water shedding means that supply will be cut during peak water usage times (5am to 9am, and 5pm to 9pm).

The isolated town at the foothills of the Swartberg mountains has a population of just over 13 000 people and its economy is dependent on farming and tourism. However, the drought has left farmers and the local communities desperate.

As the Western Cape prepares for day zero, when all taps will run dry, the provincial government has implemented Level 6 water restrictions and proposed a drought tariff – a move that has angered some critics.

The tariff will be based on the value of properties.

According to the City’s website, the taps run dry on 29 April 2018, with the combined dam levels at 31%.

Level 6 water restrictions include:

·      Agricultural users need to reduce usage by 60% compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought)

·      Borehole water use for outdoor purposes is discouraged in order to preserve groundwater resources

·      Commercial properties need to reduce usage by 45% compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought)

·      Excessive water users will be fined.

·      No hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water.

·      No irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water allowed.

·      No use of portable play pools.

·      No washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water allowed.

·      Private swimming pools may not be topped up or filled with municipal drinking water.

·      Residential units using more than 10 500 litres per month will be fined or have water management devices installed on their properties.

·      Use no more than 87 litres of municipal drinking water per person per day whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.

·      Water features may not use municipal drinking water.


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.