Although the rainy season is drawing to close, the Cape’s dam levels continue to increase either by leaps or in small increments. Our dams now have an average capacity of 74.3%, and may still increase as the city is predicted to receive more rain as the week continues.

Level 6B water restrictions were implemented during the height of the Cape Town water crisis. This time last year, the Cape’s dams held an average capacity of just 37.5%.

Many locals are fearful that the coming summer season will lead to another devastating drop in dam levels, but Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, Ian Neilson, is confident that this will not happen.”We are confident that we will not be moving to Level 6 over the summer months. It must be understood that Level 6 entails an extreme scenario. It was an extreme level for an extreme situation,” he said.

The 1st of October is also drawing closer, and this marks the day when the City of Cape Town’s residents will officially revert back to Level 5 water restrictions, and may increase their water usage from 50 litres of water per person per day to 70 litres.

Level 5 water restrictions also mean that the city’s overall water usage target will be 500 million litres of water per day instead of the current 450 million litre target.

Although Level 6B water restrictions are still in place, the City has not once reduced its daily consumption to 450 million litres per day – it has always been more despite the efforts of residents to save water.

Commercial, industrial and non-residential residents will have their water usage limits increase from 40% to 45%. Agricultural water consumers will now also be able to use 60% water instead of 50%.

The following restrictions will be in place after 1 October: 

– No watering and irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed. This includes the watering and irrigation of gardens, vegetables, agricultural crops, sports fields, golf courses, nurseries, parks and other open spaces.

Nurseries and customers involved in agricultural activities or with gardens of historical significance may apply for exemption

– The use of borehole or wellpoint water for outdoor purposes, including garden use, topping up of swimming pools and hosing down of surfaces, is strongly discouraged in order to prevent over-extraction from aquifers. Borehole or wellpoint water should rather be used for toilet flushing.

– Should borehole or wellpoint water be used for garden irrigation, this must be limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm.

– All City of Cape Town borehole and wellpoint users are expected to comply with all national Department of Water and Sanitation regulations pertaining to borehole or wellpoint usage, including the notice in Government Gazette No. 41381 (Vol. 631) of 12 January 2018. Borehole or wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records and have these available for inspection.

– Permission from the national Department of Water and Sanitation is required in order to sell or buy borehole or wellpoint water.

– All boreholes and wellpoints must be registered with the City and must display the official City of Cape Town signage that is clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. 

– All properties where alternative, non-drinking water resources are used (including rainwater harvesting, greywater, treated effluent water and spring water) must display signage to this effect that is clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. 

– No topping up (manual/automatic) of swimming pools with municipal drinking water is allowed.

– All private swimming pools must be fitted with a cover.

– The use of portable or any temporary play pools is prohibited.

The revised Level 5 Restriction guidelines include:

– No washing of vehicles including taxis, trailers, caravans and boats with municipal drinking water allowed. These vehicles must be washed with non-drinking water or cleaned with waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes. This applies to all customers, including formal and informal car washes.

– No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water is allowed. Customers such as abattoirs, food processing industries, care facilities, animal shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must apply for an exemption.

– The use of municipal drinking water for ornamental water fountains or water features is prohibited.

– Customers are strongly encouraged to install water-efficient parts, fittings, and technologies to minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing components.

The following restrictions apply to residential consumers: 

– All residents are required to use no more than 70 litres of municipal drinking water per person per day in total, irrespective of whether you consume the water at home, work or elsewhere.

– Single residential properties consuming more than 10 500 litres of municipal drinking water per month will be prioritised for enforcement. Properties, where the number of occupants necessitates higher consumption, are encouraged to apply for an increase in their daily water quota.

– Cluster developments (flats and housing complexes) consuming more than 10 500 litres of municipal drinking water per unit per month will be prioritised for enforcement. Cluster developments where the number of occupants necessitates higher consumption are encouraged to apply for an increase in their daily water quota.

– You are encouraged to flush toilets (e.g. manually using a bucket) with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.

– No increase of the indigent water allocation over and above the free 350 litres a day will be granted, unless through prior application and permission for specific events such as burial ceremonies.

“The emphasis going forward is to continue to change our relationship with water,” Neilson said. “The question that we hope our water users will continue to ask is: what am I using my drinking water for?”

For further information visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater 

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading the works of Stephen King, and exploring the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds.