City appeals to Cape Town residents to use water sparingly as load shedding knocks its systems

The Department of Water and Sanitation also revealed that heavy load shedding prevents the City from filling up reservoirs as quickly as may be required. File picture

The Department of Water and Sanitation also revealed that heavy load shedding prevents the City from filling up reservoirs as quickly as may be required. File picture

Published Dec 14, 2022


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is once again appealing to residents to use water sparingly, however this time because of the toll higher levels of load shedding are taking on the local municipality’s water systems.

In a statement, the City of Cape Town said that prolonged stages of load shedding were affecting the city’s water supply operations despite contingency measures it had put in place.

Water and sanitation Mayco member Siseko Mbandezi said: “The City is dealing with multiple challenges impacting its ability to produce and supply drinking water to meet the summer demand.

“That’s why we are calling on everyone including businesses to temporarily reduce our collective daily water use to 850 million litres. This will help us with the increasingly negative impact that heavy load shedding is placing on the reliability of our water supply, in this very challenging operational context.

“All of us can help and are encouraged to reduce demand to relieve the pressure on the water treatment plants and our supply network. The only way to help manage the resources we do have is for all users to be water-wise,” Mbandezi said.

Mbandezi also shared that not only were water systems being impacted by prolonged stages of load shedding but they were also being strained by adverse weather conditions.

According to Mbandezi’s office, Water Treatment Plants (WTP) purify water from dams before it comes out of our taps. They are equipped with standby generators to ensure that clean drinking water can continue to be provided in the event of load-shedding.

“However, due to frequent power surges and dips, for example, the Voelvlei WTP was temporarily shut down this past weekend and had to rely on water stored in our reservoirs for emergency purposes to help meet usage demand.

“Spare supply in reservoirs can run low fairly fast during load shedding and hot conditions when residents tend to use more water.”

The Department of Water and Sanitation also revealed that heavy load shedding prevents the City from filling up reservoirs as quickly as may be required.

Some higher-lying areas may experience low pressure or supply disruptions in the event of power outages affecting the booster water pump stations, which are required in some areas to convey water to the reservoirs supplying the higher-lying areas across the city, the department said.

“It must be made clear that the City’s tap water remains safe to drink and there is not a water shortage issue as our dams are currently over 70% full. While there is ample water in our dams, we need to ensure treated drinking water can be supplied sustainably throughout load shedding, especially during higher stages.

“Should the level of load shedding increase, and water usage not reduce, the City may be forced to implement water restrictions to curtail demand to ensure there is enough water production capacity and storage in the bulk water supply reservoirs.

“We are in this together, so let’s all do what we can to reduce our water use so we can continue to enjoy a reliable water supply,” Mbandezi said.

Residents in high-lying areas, particularly in the northern and southern parts of the city, are expected to experience low pressure, should higher stages of load shedding be implemented.

However, if the problem persists for more than four hours, residents are advised to contact the City.

Here are some measures the City of Cape Town has come up with, that residents can adopt to use water sparingly.

- Do the right thing to use less water. Wise outdoor water use, fixing leaks and complying with permanent regulations are key ways to save.

These are some of the regulations that are in place at all times:

Hosepipes used for watering or washing vehicles, boats and caravans (when permitted) must be fitted with a controlling device such as a spray nozzle or automatic self-closing device.

Watering is only allowed before 9am or after 6pm (to avoid evaporation losses in the heat of the day). This applies to watering/ irrigation with municipal drinking water and is also recommended for alternative water eg borehole and well-point water.

All swimming pools must be covered by a pool cover to avoid evaporation when not in use.

- Only flush toilets and do washing when necessary. This will also help reduce pressure on the sewer network, and wastewater treatment works.

- Log water and sanitation service requests:

Report burst pipes, leaks and water wastage using one of the following channels (Please provide the street address, and get a reference number):

  • WhatsApp 060 018 1505
  • Online:
  • Email [email protected]
  • SMS 31373 (maximum 160 characters. Standard rates apply)
  • Call 0860 103 089
  • Visit a City walk-in centre (see to find the one closest to you)

For more ways to save water, visit: