“Those residents who have not heeded our call to save water and reduce their consumption have seen an increase in their water bills,” Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said. File photo: Independent Media
Cape Town’s water security is teetering on the brink of disaster as dam levels continue to plummet to less than desired quantities.

The city council yesterday officially raised restrictions to Level 3B in the hope that harsher measures would drive down water consumption when they kick in on February 1.

Collective dam levels had dropped to 39.9% this week, which meant there was only 29.9% of water left to use as the last 10% would be impossible to extract.

The Level 3B restrictions come as a result of the severe drought being experienced and the repeated failure of the public to reach the intended water savings target of 800 million litres of water use per day, Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water services, said on Thursday.

Limberg said the average consumption was 80 million litres above this target this week.

Addressing council members on Thursday, mayor Patricia De Lille talked tough against offenders, warning that officials would be homing in on the more than 20 000 identified residents who she said had continued to ignore water restrictions despite the fact that “we are in the midst of a severe drought”.

“Those residents who have not heeded our call to save water and reduce their consumption have seen an increase in their water bills,” she said.

“We have received an additional R254 million from water sales due to sale volumes being higher than anticipated and the impact of the implemented 20% (Level 2) water restrictions on consumption patterns.

“But we can’t use this money to buy more water. Because of your abuse, we will all suffer,” De Lille said.

“Make no mistake, this is a serious situation that we must all work together to address urgently.

“Saving water is not optional. We all have to save water now to ensure that we have water over the long term.”

Limberg explained level 3B, warning residents to refrain from:

* Watering flower beds, lawns, sports fields, parks and open spaces with municipal water, except on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm for a maximum of one hour per day per property, using only a bucket or watering can.

* Washing vehicles or boats using municipal drinking water would not be allowed. Vehicles and boats must be washed with non-potable water or washed at a commercial car wash.

* No watering or irrigation would be allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities and customers using boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt.

De Lille said the city’s area-based mayoral committee members and the informal settlements, water and waste services directorate would work with peace officers, law enforcement officers, and councillors to ensure the city reached its usage targets. 

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Cape Argus