Cape Town has little choice but to implement far more stringent water efficiency and savings mechanisms in the form of Level three water restrictions as of November 1st and price increases from December 1st 2016. Level 3 water restrictions aim at a 30% water saving.
After two successive years of low rainfall the dams supplying the Cape Town Metro are at precariously low levels – just as we are about to enter another thirsty summer. In addition Cape Town residents as a whole did not achieve the consistent 10% reduction in water use that was aimed for with the introduction of the level 2 restrictions in January 2016. “If we continue to use water as we did on the Level 2 restrictions over the coming summer months‚ the dams are at risk of falling to 15% by the end of the summer period‚” said the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services‚ Alderman Ernest Sonnenberg. If we get late or insufficient winter rain in 2017, the situation is likely to be dire. For more than a decade Climate scientists have been warning about the consequences of Climate Change induced shifts in rainfall patterns and the critical need for serious water demand management as an adaption / survival strategy.
Collectively residential properties use the bulk of Cape Town’s potable (drinking) water – 70%. The pie chart illustrates the categories of domestic water consumption for a four member middle to upper income home over a 24 hour period. (Source Biolytix Southern Africa). The chart gives a very clear picture of where we need to start to save and use water more efficiently in our homes. Even a quick look at the high water consumption used in the bathroom and kitchen / laundry reveals opportunities to use the `rinse and grey’ water in the garden and to flush the toilet. To find out how our family of four reduce the amount of municipal water we use in our home and garden click to read: http://greenaudits.co.za/green-audits/water-audit/tips-to-save-water-no-water-wars-on-my-account/.
Level 3 water restrictions for residential properties include:
- No watering with municipal water using sprinklers or hose pipes. (This does not seem to apply to borehole or well point water which should nevertheless be used conservatively. Groundwater is our ecological reserve.)
- Water your garden with a bucket in the morning and evening.
- No watering allowed within 24 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. (This also applies to use of borehole, treated effluent water, spring water or well points.)
- All well points and boreholes must be registered with the City and used efficiently to avoid wastage and evaporation.(Visit the City of Cape Town website for more information on registration.)
- Display a clearly visible sign, if using borehole, well point, rain or grey water..
- No hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal (drinking) water.
- Ornamental water features may only be operated with recirculated water.
- The maximum shower head flow rate may not exceed 10 litres per minute.
- Toilet cisterns may not exceed 9,5 litres in capacity.
- Use buckets to wash your vehicle or boat.
- Manual top-up of swimming pools only allowed if the pool is fitted with a pool cover to slow down the evaporation of surface water. No automatic top-up systems are allowed.
- The use of portable play pools is not allowed.
To report water wastage and or leaks SMS the City on 31373. For a full explanation of the level 3 restrictions go to: http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/residential-utility-services/residential-water-and-sanitation-services/2016-residential-water-restrictions-explained
Note that people who disregard the water restrictions can be fined and repeat offenders can be prosecuted.
To find out what the increased new tariffs are go to: http://greenaudits.co.za/high-water-restriction-prices-for-cape-town-dec-2016/
Tips to save water and save money at home!
- Take short showers. Catch your shower water in a basin and use it to flush the toilet.
- If you bath, save the water to water the garden or to flush the toilet.
- If machine washing, wash dishes and clothing with a full load.
- If you have a large toilet cistern, save water by placing a 2 litre plastic bottle full of water or brick in the tank (cistern) of your toilet.
- When washing dishes, rinse dishes in a basin and use the rinse water to water the garden or to flush the toilet. The same applies when washing fruit and vegetables.
- Install a system to pump grey water (from the washing machine, basins, shower and bath) to the garden.
- Fix all leaks and dripping taps.
- Plant water wise indigenous plants which can tolerate extreme heat and need little watering.
- Mulch trees and plants with bark and leaves. A covering keeps the soil cool and damp for longer.
- Water your garden early or late in the day – between 9am and 4pm too much water evapourates (and it is illegal).
Kim Kruyshaar October 2016