Our dam levels have dropped to 40,4% (23 January 2017) and are currently dropping at a rate of 2% per week. 40 divided by 2 does not give us 20 weeks of water as the last 10 – 15 % of water cannot be extracted because of silt etc. On one hand the City tells us that the water situation is not critical i.e. don’t panic – but on the other hand more onerous water restrictions are being imposed. The Level 3 water restrictions implemented in November 2016 aimed at a 30% saving, which amounts to consumption not exceeding 800 million kiloliters per day. This is our winter consumption average, a water consumption essentially without watering gardens or topping up pools. Many Capetonians have heeded the call to reduce water consumption significantly and water saving tips even Trump global concerns. However, as a collective, residential properties are using 80 million kiloliters above the saving target we need to make it to the rainy season.
The City is implementing three strategies to push harder for water savings. The City will implement stricter enforcement actions against high water users. An examination of almost 1 million water meters has identified 20 000 users (mainly households) with excessive water accounts – in the order of 50 kiloliters each per month. The ability to pay for water – even at the higher tariffs – does not exclude anyone from the 30% savings drive. The high water consumption of a few directly impacts on us all. When there is no water, money won’t quench our thirst.
Secondly, the City will be implementing level 3B water restrictions as of 1 February. These further restrictions include:
Gardens may only be watered on Tuesdays and Saturdays for no more than one hour before 09:00 or after 18:00 with a bucket or watering can.
No watering within 48 hrs of rain.
No washing of cars or boats with potable water.
No use of portapools nor topping up of swimming pools without a pool cover with potable water.
Previous exemptions are being reconsidered on a case by case basis. Watch the media for a statement about the new 3B restrictions.
Finally, Cape Town has increased its teams working on water leaks and pipe bursts, and has reduced water losses from 25% in 2009 to less than 15% and is working hard to bring this down as fast as possible.
For a weekly update on dam levels and consumption go to: http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/residential-utility-services/residential-water-and-sanitation-services/this-weeks-dam-levels
Kim Kruyshaar 26 – 01 – 2017