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Home Cape Town News Drought crisis: City lowers usage target as dam levels continue to decline
Drought crisis

Drought crisis: City lowers usage target as dam levels continue to decline


The City of Cape Town has lowered the target for collective water use per day by 100 million litres to 600 million litres.

This comes amid the continual decline of dam levels and unseasonably hot weather which has pushed up consumption. Dam levels are now at 23,3% (storage levels), which is 0,9% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 13,3%. The latest consumption is 745 million litres, which is 45 million litres over the previous target of 700 million litres. 

Stricter water restrictions could also be on the cards soon, subject to due process. For now, the City asks that residents stop using municipal water for all outside use and that those who are able to do so invest in greywater and rainwater harvesting, among others, for all non-potable uses. Similarly, the City is currently looking at ways to create a greater culture of water harvesting in all of its operations.

‘Residents must please reduce water for personal use immediately to below 100 litres per person per day. At the current consumption rate, 88 days of water remain.

‘We thank the many residents who have played a great role in supporting us, but now we all need to up our game. Those who use more will continue to be heavily penalised but we do not want more money from higher tariffs: residents must use less water. The climatic conditions continue to be erratic and it seems as if many water users respond directly to that – in other words, they use more water as soon as it heats up, but seemingly also when there is rain. This is not sustainable. We must use water in a consistent manner during this time of crisis,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

The City continues to accelerate its emergency water schemes in accordance with the disaster declaration and as a result of sound, proactive governance. The exploratory phase of a pilot project for the extraction of water from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) is expected to begin near the end of June 2017, pending relevant processes. At this stage, the foreseen yield is approximately two million litres per day. This is because we are taking a precautionary approach to determine the sustainable yield of the TMGA and to prevent over-abstraction and environmental damage.

The City is also continuing with extensive pressure reduction programmes to reduce the flow of water at a time, as well as water losses through leakage in the pipework of the distribution system. The regulation of supply is under way in the central, southern and eastern suburbs and within the next week it will be expanded to the northern suburbs.

Consumers should not be alarmed if they experience very low pressure or if the supply in their area drops away as it will only be temporary until the balance is achieved.

Upcoming water- and resilience-related events to take note of are as follows:
  • 9 May 2017: City briefs top business leadership and investors on the drought crisis. This is the first of a set of planned engagements
  • 5 June 2017: World Environment Day – City’s water-wise expo of water-saving devices and ideas for home and small business use
  • June 2017 (day to be confirmed): Mayor’s Festival of Ideas, where suppliers of large, utility-scale water- supply and saving equipment can share their ideas and offerings with City officials

Residents can contact the City via email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.

For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, City of Cape Town,

Tel: 021 400 1299 or Cell: 074 279 9940,

Email: Xanthea.limberg@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)

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