As water usage continues to climb to pre-drought levels, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has urged residents and businesses to unite behind the City’s proactive water savings target of using less than 850 million litres daily. Cape Town experienced below-average rainfall during the 2022 hydrological year, and dam levels are now 62%, which is almost 25% lower than they were at this time last year. Besides the risk of another below-average winter rainfall season ahead, sustained high stages of load-shedding can disrupt drinking water production and reticulation, which may affect high-lying residential properties in particular. Let’s be water-wise and work together to use less water now.
The City of Cape Town calls on residents and businesses to use water wisely at all times this summer. The City has set a collective water-wise daily usage target of 850 million litres to mitigate the risk of another below average winter rainfall, and to assist reliability of water supply in light of ongoing load-shedding.
Sustained high stages of load-shedding impacts the City’s ability to build up reserves in our reservoirs and reticulate drinking water. Residents can help us avoid or limit these risks by using less water this summer.
‘Capetonians have always stood together, and I’m asking Team Cape Town to again stand as one as we aim to collectively use less than 850 million litres daily. Staying within this target will help us maintain supply during sustained high stages of load-shedding, and put us in a better position next summer if we again have below-average winter rainfall.
‘The dams supplying Cape Town are losing, on average, about 2% of our total dam capacity per week. This past week we have used 949 million litres daily. This is 99 million litres daily over the collective use target. Cape Town’s dams are still above 50%, but our models show that dam levels will drop below 50% by the end of summer if we don’t meet this proactive water savings target. This may increase the need for water restrictions down the line, which we would ideally want to avoid,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.
What the City is doing to help
The City will continue to reduce water wastage through programmes such as leak detection, annual pipe replacement, and pressure management.
The City is investing in bringing online the New Water Programme, which will see an investment of about R5 billion over the next eight years. The City will introduce 300MLD of new water by 2030 from diverse sources that will help protect us from the worst effects of future droughts.
The Table Mountain Group Aquifer has already delivered its first water in 2020, and the first groundwater to be injected into the supply network from the Cape Flats Aquifer is expected towards the middle of 2023.
The City is targeting a 55 billion litre annual reduction of water losses by ramping up alien vegetation clearing. The City’s R50 million investment in the next two years will be matched by private donations, and is set to up clearing efforts to 9 000 hectares per year from the current 1 250ha in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
‘We believe that reducing our water use now is the responsible step to take, both in terms of load-shedding disruptions, and in case we again have below-average winter rainfall. Capetonians can help by reducing outdoor water use, such as watering gardens, filling or topping up pools, and following the permanent water use regulations. Together we can achieve a water-wise Cape Town!’ said Councillor Siseko Mbandezi, Acting Member of Mayoral Committee for Water and Sanitation.
What can residents do to help?
1. Find and fix leaks. High water use could mean you have an undetected, expensive leak.
Check your meter regularly to identify leaks, and get them fixed quickly. See the City’s simple guides to help.
2. Don’t flush in a rush. Only flush when necessary and do not use your toilet as a dustbin.
New or replaced toilet cisterns may not exceed six litres for each flush.
3. Take short, stop-start showers or small baths. The maximum flow rate of new and replaced showerheads may not exceed seven litres.
4. Wash more with less, for laundry and dishes. Only wash clothes and dishes (pots, cups etc) when really needed.
Wait for a full load before using washing machines and dishwashers. Hand washing and spot-cleaning can use less water.
5. Turn off taps when not using the flow. E.g. Use a cup for shaving and brushing your teeth.
6. Close the hose, when washing the car. Hosepipes for washing vehicles, boats and caravans must be fitted with an automatic self-closing device. Stop-start your spray as you need it or bucket-wash your car or vehicle.
7. Stop-start and slow your spray. Use a controlling device at the end of the hose, like a sprayer (nozzle) or automatic self-closing device.
8. Beat the heat loss. Only water before 09:00 or after 18:00 to avoid evaporation losses.
9. Keep summer fun water wise. Supervise very careful use of water for children’s play, and cooling in hot summer months. E.g. Use a wet cloth to cool down hot skin, and avoid wasteful spraying of water.
10. Swim, cover, save, repeat. Built-in and fold-away pools must be covered when not in use, to prevent up to 95% of evaporation losses. Recycle the backwash, and top up with rainwater or alternative water where possible.
Regulations about water use in the City’s Water By-law are in place at all times and following these will go a long way towards achieving the target of 850MLD collective use.
For more information visit: www.capetown.gov.za/savewater
Source: City Of Cape Town