From the news desk

City warns against hoax water messages

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The City of Cape Town has warned the public not to circulate hoax messages stating that the city council will cut off water at certain times. The concern comes amid increased vigilance around the use of water, at a time of a severe drought and formal water restrictions in place.

One Whatsapp message doing the rounds states that water will be cut off on the 29th and 30th February, days which do not exist. The City’s spokesperson Priya Reddy said the messages create unnecessary panic and is not authentic City of Cape Town communication.

“We regard these hoax messages in the same manner in which we regard prank phone calls to our emergency numbers. If the source is found, we will see if there is any action in which we are mandated to take. Such posts lead to a complete waste of the City’s resources. Just as we are all aware of the fake news phenomena, we must ensure that we heed the information on the City’s formal social media and other channels and through the city’s other sources of official communication.”

On Monday, the City of Cape Town issued a serious warning that the city has approximately 129 days of useable water left. Dam levels are at an effective 24,5% and water consumption must be lowered immediately.
This week, the names of those residents or businesses which are issued with fines will be made public.

“The City will consider further drastically lowering water pressure to a larger extent. We are currently expanding the existing pressure-reducing programme. This programme entails maintaining constant supply where we have the infrastructure to do so, but it may result in intermittent supply in the higher areas of the supply zone,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

“Consumption patterns and dam levels over the coming weeks will determine how the pressure reduction programme will be rolled out further. The City will communicate timeously about any decision in this regard.”
Regular enforcement operations remain in place, in addition to the targeted engagements with the top 20 000 consumers with the highest water usage.

Limberg said Mayor Patricia de Lille and Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson are personally calling businesses, hotels and government departments unannounced to check up on their water use.  De Lille and her representatives (area-based mayoral committee members) have started personally engaging with some of the high water users who have been identified through their water accounts and January 2017 consumption. A month-on-month comparison will be made on the water usage, which will inform further action.

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

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


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