Cape Town launches map to track water usage

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The City of Cape Town has launched a water map to assist residents to track their water usage.

“Our water map marks residential properties using less than 10 500 litres per month with green dots. The map is a transparent tool and will assist in actively managing and reducing consumption to avoid Day Zero.

“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 of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille. 

Day Zero will come when dam levels reach 13.5% and most taps will be turned off. 

Consumption is indicated on the water map 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. 

“Households with higher consumption may have many people living on the property or may have an undetected water leak. The city continues its interventions with these users,” said Mayor De Lille. 

The map only shows consumption for free-standing houses and not cluster housing, flats or other land uses. In addition, the map shows consumption for the previous month and is updated around the third week of the following month. For example, January 2018 consumption information will be available in the third week of February 2018. 

Households using more than 10 500 litres per month are not shown on the map. 

“It has been found that high consumers are often unaware of their consumption but are willing to change their behaviour once approached. 

“At this stage, each household should know their monthly consumption and we ask that they take the right action and join Team Cape Town’s water savers. 

“Neighbourhoods should have constructive engagements with one another to ensure that their neighbourhood is painted green. Mobilise groups in your area in order to collectively manage water consumption,” said the Mayor. 

By making consumption information available, the City believes it will assist residents and communities to better manage their water consumption. 

“It is crucial for everyone to play their part. The City will continue with extensive enforcement but it is not possible to police consumption at every household. If we do not change our behaviour more, we are likely to face Day Zero,” De Lille said. 

The Mayor said about 54% of the city’s consumers are saving water to avoid the fast approaching Day Zero, which is estimated to be on 22 April 2018.

“We need absolutely everyone to come on board because the prospect of queuing daily for an allocation of 25 litres per person is a reality and we must do more to avoid it at all cost,” said De Lille. 

While consumers save, the City is pulling out all the stops to deliver additional water as fast as possible from groundwater, desalination and water reuse sources. 

Check how much your household is using

At this critical stage, water consumption remains too high for too many homes. The residential sector uses approximately 65% of water allocation. This sector holds the key to helping the city avoid Day Zero.

De Lille pleaded with households to reduce their consumption within the water restriction limits. 

“Please check your consumption and ensure everyone in your household is using less than 87 litres per person per day.” 

The table below provides a guide to how much water a household should be using based on the number of occupants. As most people also consume water at work, school or elsewhere, household consumption should be lower than the maximum amount indicated in the table.  

Number occupants

Litres per day

Approximate litres per month per household



2 600



5 300



7 900



10 500



13 200



15 900



18 500



21 200


Monthly consumption for a four-person household, all using a maximum of 87 litres per person per day, should be less than 10 500 litres (i.e. a light green dot). A two-person household should have consumption of less than 5 300 litres (i.e. a dark green dot). 

Consumption higher than 10 500 litres per month (no green dot) does not necessarily indicate water abuse. There are many legitimate reasons for this:

•         High number of occupants or guests in the house

•         Water leaks that the occupants are unaware of (this happens frequently)

•         The operation of a home business or B&B on the property

•         Recently completed building work

Residents can view the map on -


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