Cape Town gets tough on water guzzlers as crisis deepens

About 40 people queue to collect natural spring water from the Brewery Spring in Newlands. Picture: Armand Hough

About 40 people queue to collect natural spring water from the Brewery Spring in Newlands. Picture: Armand Hough

Published Feb 20, 2017


Cape Town – The City of Cape Town will begin naming and shaming the city’s greediest water guzzlers, who refuse to cut down on water usage.

Reducing daily water consumption by at least 40% will ensure that the city has around 135 days of potable water left, according to Mayco member for water services Xanthea Limberg.

“It means that if we all use approximately 40% less water every day, compared with what we usually use during unrestricted times, about 1.2 billion litres per day, we will have 135 days left of water. If we save more, we’ll have water for more days."

"Seasonal changes would also increase the number of days, such as good rainfall and lower evaporation rates of the dams as it becomes cooler.”

The council is urging Capetonians to reduce their water usage even further than the 800 million litres daily target to 700 million litres, or the city might run out of water.

And those who refuse to do so will be in the mayor’s firing line.

The council plans to issue even stricter fines, and once an admission of guilt has been signed by the culprits, they will be named and shamed.

Mayor Patricia de Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson said: “Although the majority of the people are adhering to the Level 3B restrictions, there are some people who are still nonchalant, and the City is tracking their water usage. They will be caught and fined.”

In a bid to save water, many people have been queueing up at the Newlands Brewery to collect water from the natural spring on the premises. Cathy Swartz, who regularly collects water there, said she had seen an increase in the number of people collecting water.

“People are bringing more containers than they normally did. Since the water crisis, water has become such a precious commodity, and people come from as far as Durbanville to the brewery for water.”

Early last year, the City introduced Level 2 water restrictions, and within 10 months that was increased to Level 3.

Three weeks ago, dam levels dropped to 39.2%. Last week, levels had dipped even further, to 36.2%, but with the last 10% of a dam’s water unable to be extracted, this effectively leaves the city’s water supply at 26.2% capacity.

To help raise awareness, water crisis warnings have been displayed on electronic signboards along the city’s highways, indicating how much water the metro has left.

“Although we thank all our great water ambassadors out there, we need all residents, businesses and government spheres to heed this call. There now really is no escaping the message,” said Limberg.

Cape Argus

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