Managing director Tony Marchesini said the decision to suspend the refilling service was in line with the City’s level 6B water restrictions, which kick in on Thursday.
“The core business for H20 International is selling water purification systems, and not refilling water containers for customers. We will not be selling any treated water within the H20 stores. Following the launch of the DA’s campaign last week, we had an unexpected run on our branches this past weekend,” Marchesini said.
He said H2O was striving to reduce its water consumption by 45%.
Many water shops and businesses selling treated municipal water have come under close scrutiny in Cape Town.
H20 International has 17 stores across the Western Cape and has denied wasting any municipal water in its water purification processes.
“We do not use reverse osmosis technology. We purify our water through a GAC/KDF/Riolyte media bed that is unique to H2O International. The majority of our water purifiers are manufactured in the US,” said Marchesini.
He said H2O had already received R50000 to pay for transporting bottles from up north to Cape Town.
Local supermarkets such as Pick * Pay and Woolworths imposed limitations on the purchase of bottled water.
This came after Capetonians had been dashing to the stores to stockpile water for when the taps run dry.
Chan Pillay, the head of Long Life for Woolworths Food, said they were actively working with their suppliers to ensure they continued to have stocks of bottled spring water available in-store and online.
“The demand for bottled water has increased dramatically."
"Our five-litre bottled spring water is currently on promotion, which is buy two and save R15. This is effectively R15.49 for five litres. Ensuring fair availability to all customers, we have imposed a limit of 20 units of five-litre bottles (100 litres) a customer a day,” Pillay said.
Pick * Pay spokesperson Tamra Veley said: “Customers have been buying more bottled water in the region over the past few days. We are taking steps to increase stocks from suppliers.
"In the meantime, we are asking customers to limit their purchases of water to 50 litres. We know that everyone will understand why we have taken this temporary step.”
SA National Bottled Water Association reported that five-litre bottles of water were being sold out within hours of being delivered in Cape Town stores.
The Shoprite Group said it had seen a 93% increase in sales of bottled still water. The retail group has guaranteed the availability of bottled water for all of its stores in the province.
“Our supermarkets have seen a drastic increase in demand for bottled water. There's been a 118% increase in sales over the December 2017/January 2018 period compared to the same period last year, with over four million litres of bottled water (still and sparkling) sold to date and a 200% increase for bottled still water alone."
The group said it was comfortable it had secured sufficient water to supply the Western Cape until the City of Cape Town stated that it was in a safe zone.