Cape Town water restrictions could be upped

Kaveel Singh, News24

Cape Town – Cape Town's mayoral committee said on Tuesday it had approved the stepping up of water restrictions to level two.

In a statement the city said the item will now go before council for deliberation on December 10.

"As we are situated in a water-scarce region, the city imposes level 1 restrictions [10% water savings] at all times. Because the city’s dam levels are approximately 15% lower than the norm for this time of year, it was proposed that the city implement level 2 restrictions [20% savings] to preserve the long-term sustainability of the resource."

The restriction will also have financial implications with the city saying that if customers reduce their consumption by 10%, their bill should remain at a similar rand value. However, if restrictions were upped, using the same amount of water would cost more.

"For example, if a resident normally uses 24 kl of water every month at a cost of R294.62, and they reduce consumption by 10%, they will continue to receive a bill for a similar amount. However, if implementation of the level 2 tariff is passed by Council, 24 kl will cost them R344.75."

The city has said that indigent customers’ free allocation will not be affected, nor will the first free 6kl a month for all residents.

Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg said, however, the city was still relatively more stable than other provinces.

"However, given that Cape Town is situated in a semi-arid area, it is important that we are not complacent."

If passed by council, residents will have to abide by the following, more stringent regulations:

- No watering (e.g. using buckets) of a garden, sports field, or other grassed area using potable water between 09:00 and 16:00. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes or other alternative sources are not exempt.

- No watering (e.g. using buckets) will be permitted within 24 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes or other alternative sources are not exempt.

- Irrigation (e.g. hose pipe/sprinklers) is only to take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during approved hours, and for no longer than an hour in total. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes or other alternative sources are not exempt.

- If alternative water sources are utilised, customers should ensure that they display signage to this effect clearly visible from a public thoroughfare.

- Where a hosepipe is used for irrigation, it must have a controlling device attached at the end.

- No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with potable (drinking) water.

- A hosepipe used for washing vehicles must be fitted with an automatic self-closing device.

- Automatic top-up systems for swimming pools and garden ponds are not allowed. Furthermore, the use of a pool cover is recommended.

- Commercial car-wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms. Informal car washes must use buckets rather than hosepipes.

- Wash basins in public facilities must be fitted with demand-type taps.

- Showers provided at public facilities must be fitted with demand-type valves.

- Potable water may not be used to dampen sand or other building material to prevent these materials from being blown away.

- Standpipe draw-off taps must be of a height of at least 450 mm, measured above ground level.

- The maximum flow rate from any tap installed at a hand basin may not exceed 6 litres per minute.

- The maximum flow rate of any showerhead may not exceed 10 litres per minute.

- Water closet cisterns may not exceed 9,5 litres in capacity.

- Automatic flushing cisterns or tipping tanks shall not be used for flushing a urinal.

- All automatic flushing cisterns fitted to urinals must be replaced with manually operated systems, or non-manual apparatus that only flushes after each use.

- Terminal water fittings (taps and outlets) installed outside any buildings, other than residential buildings, must incorporate a self-closing device; or have a removable handle for operating purposes; or be capable of being locked to prevent unauthorised use; or be of a demand type that limits water use for each operation.

- Water audits must be undertaken annually by major water users (more than 10 000 kl a month), but excluding where these are multiple dwelling units.

- No person may allow water ... to run continuously to waste except for maintaining a prescribed level of total dissolved solids in a recirculating plant.

- Ornamental water features may only be operated if the water is recycled.