File photo: Independent Media
One of the worst droughts in Cape Town’s history has forced the City to issue an unprecedented warning: water can only be used for drinking, washing and cooking.

Levels of dams which feed the metropole are at 21.2%, down 0.8% from last week.

With the last 10% of the water stored in dams not usable, dam levels are effectively standing at 11%.

While consumption had previously been down, the City yesterday said this figure had jumped to 718 million litres, which is 118 million litres over the consumption target of 600 million litres.

Cape Town’s mayoral committee could now recommend further water restrictions to Level 4 today, which would entail a ban on the use of municipal water for outside and non-essential purposes.

City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, councillor Xanthea Limberg, said what this meant was that water could only be used for drinking, cooking and washing.

“We are reaching a critical point in this drought crisis. Although we continue to work non-stop to force consumption down, overall use remains catastrophically high.

"This is not a request.

"We have seen huge saving efforts, but the unseasonably hot autumn is exacerbating the situation and we must all do more.

“Rain or shine, we are now at a point where all consumers must use below 100 litres per day. Stop flushing toilets when not necessary, shower for less than two minutes a day or use a wet cloth for a ‘wipe-down’, collect all would-be wasted water and use it to fill up toilet cisterns,” said Limberg.

Dredging operations have started at the Voëlvlei Dam to prepare for low-level extraction of water.

The City is engaging with the lead authority, the National Department of Water and Sanitation, to also request dredging operations at Theewaterskloof Dam.

The City continues with its pressure reduction programmes across the metro, which forcibly reduce supply at a given time.

Other emergency interventions are under way, and if required, the City will start to implement a lifeline supply of water across the metro.