Water usage spikes while Cape dam levels remain critical

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pretoria – The City of Cape Town has warned all water users not to increase consumption as dam levels remain critically low and rainfall uncertainty high.

According to the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, Xanthea Limberg, the dam storage levels are at 23.1%.

“With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 13.1%. Worryingly, consumption has again shot up and is 40 million litres per day above the target of 600 million litres per day,” Limberg said.

She said that since 6 June 2017, when the recent big storm made landfall, and including subsequent spells of rain, dam levels have only increased by about 3.7%, adding that the drought crisis continues as dam levels are critically lower than usual at the start of the winter.

Due to the severity of the drought, Limberg said above-target consumption, as well as the unpredictability of climatic conditions, Level 4 water restrictions remain in place indefinitely over the long-term and could be intensified if warranted.

“Apart from safeguarding our current sustainability, we must think about building additional reserve capacity by continuing with the most hard-hitting water-saving efforts that we can muster. It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover, and we must bear in mind that we are expecting an even tougher summer in 2018.

“All consumers must continue to use less than 100 litres per person per day in total, whether at work, home, school or elsewhere,” Limberg said.

Water Resilience Task Team

Meanwhile, the City’s Water Resilience Task Team has been set up to boost the city’s response to drought, to ensure that acute water shortages are avoided, and to transform Cape Town’s water landscape into one that ultimately relies less on surface water.  

Residents can contact the city via email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the city’s enforcement efforts), or they can send an SMS to 31373.

The city has also appealed to the courts for tougher action to assist with the tackling non-compliance of Level 4 restrictions.

“The city has managed to negotiate the maximum spot fine for a contravention and that it be raised to R5 000, rising to R10 000 or even a prison sentence for serious or repeat offences as per the new fine schedule for Level 4 restrictions,” Limberg said.

For further information on how to adhere to the less than 100-litre usage requirement, residents should visit the water restrictions page on the city’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater - SAnews.gov.za

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