Since the 1st of November 2016 Cape Town has been under level 3 water restrictions. These restrictions are in place until further notice from the Municipality and are meant to promote the efficient use of water in summer where temperatures soar, prompting an increase in water usage
Levels of Water Restrictions
What does it mean to say Cape Town is under Level 3 Water restrictions? The City of Cape Town municipality implements three levels of water restrictions, which are based on the dams’ storage capacity
- Level 1: 10% water savings, typically in place under standard conditions
- Level 2: 20% water savings which is applicable when dam levels are lower than normal
- Level 3: 30% water savings which are applicable when dam levels are critically low
Under level 3 restrictions, water tariffs have been increased from the 1st of December 2016 and regulations have been put in place to counteract the wastage of water. The new tariffs can be found on the city’s website together with a poster on items not allowed to be used during this period of water restrictions.
Dam Water Levels
Currently the Western Cape is experiencing a drought due to a decrease in rainfall during the winter season. Comparing water levels from previous years shows a significant decrease in available water. The table below shows the water levels for the major dams in Cape Town.
|CapacityML||%5 Dec 2016||% 2015||% 2014||% 2013||% 2012|
|Berg River||130 010||66.1||78.2||96.5||100.0||97.7|
|Steenbras lower||33 517||47.9||71.2||73.6||95.3||84.4|
|Steenbras Upper||31 767||78.0||78.3||99.4||97.0||97.0|
The water demand has steadily increased over years due to the province’s growing population and booming economy. Its evident with the reduction in water levels, the responsible authorities have to take measures to ensure that the demand is met.
9 ways to contribute to saving water
It is everyone’s responsibility to make a contribution that can lower the demand of water to ensure every person has access to clean water. Here are some of the measures we can take to reduce our consumption
- Address water leaks within the house. Small leaks on pipes and toilet basin can cumulatively waste a considerable amount of water. It is vital to check for leaks at regular intervals to prevent the wasting of water.
- Report water leaks. You can contact the Water Services on 0860 103 089 to report any leaking or burst pipes.
- Avoid continuous running of water when not necessary. During our daily routines, such as brushing teeth and shaving, we often keep the tap running continuously. Rather fill the basin with the required water instead of letting. A running tap uses 5 L/min. The same applies to washing dishes, if you have multiple basins you can fill up one side for washing and the other for rinsing.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. An average shower consumes less water as compared to an average bath.
- Use of water saving shower heads. Water efficient shower heads, such as the wider “Sunflower” shower head, run approximately 9 litres/min as compared to the narrow ones which can go to 15 L/min. Not only will you save water by reducing the flow of water, but with the wider area covered by the “sunflower” shower head, you will reduce your time showering as well.
- Implement a grey water systems. You can choose to harness your waste water, from washing laundry or showering for example, to use for irrigation instead of letting it run down the drain as sewage.
- Use a pool cover when not in use. As part of the regulations set for the level 3 water restrictions, you are only allowed to top up a swimming pool’s water if the pool has a cover. With a cover on the pool, you will reduce the amount of water that is evaporated on sunny days. You will extend the time between top ups and thus save water.
- Don’t water the gardens in the afternoon. To reduce water loss by evaporation it is best to water gardens only during the early hours of the morning or late at night.
- Desist from using garden hose. As per the regulations for the level 3 water restrictions, you are not permitted to use a garden hose to wash cars or water gardens. Save water by using a bucket or a watering can.
Some of these steps may look farfetched and insignificant at glance but thinking of it, a collective action from everyone in Cape Town will result in saving Kilolitres of water. It is going to be hot this summer but don’t forget to visit the beach for a cool down and enjoy the holiday.