From the news desk

Harsher water restrictions for CT

Capetonians can brace themselves for even tougher water restrictions from next month. The City of Cape Town’s Council today approved the implementation of Level 3b restrictions water restrictions from 1 February 2017. Among others, the use of potable water for non-essential use will be further restricted.

The Democratic Alliance and smaller parties voted in favour of these much-needed new restrictions, but the ANC did not support the resolution.

The restrictions are the result of the severe drought that is being experienced and the repeated failure to reach the intended water savings target of 800 million litres of collective water use per day. As at 23 January 2017, the average consumption was 80 million litres above this target and dam levels had dropped to 40,4%. It is very difficult to extract the remaining 10% of a dam’s capacity.

The National Department of Water and Sanitation, in its statement of 6 January 2017, pointed out that the South African Weather Service had predicted a reduced likelihood of chances of above normal rainfall country-wide between January and April 2017. They implied a dam level recovery rate of beyond three years.

Therefore, unless there is a rapid and significant change to rainfall patterns, there is still a long road to recovery and that we face the possibility of yet another ‘not-so-wet’ winter, they reported.

“The City must therefore urgently further intensify the current restriction measures by introducing Level 3b restrictions. The approval of the 3b fine schedule by the Magistrates’ Court is expected to be in place shortly. A higher amount for spot fines of R5 000 has been proposed as part of the fine schedule,” said Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, and Energy.

Under level 3B water restrictions, watering/irrigation (with municipal drinking water) of flower beds, lawns, vegetables and other plants, sports fields, parks and other open spaces is allowed only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property and only if using a bucket or watering can. No use of hosepipes or any sprinkler systems allowed.

No watering/irrigation allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt.
There can be no washing of vehicles or boats using municipal drinking water at residential/business/industrial properties. Vehicles and boats must be washed with non-potable water or washed at a commercial carwash.

Furthermore, no irrigation using potable water will be permitted at City facilities. No increase of the indigent water allocation over and above the free 350 litres a day will be granted, unless through prior application and permission

Exemptions granted under Level 3 are being reviewed with the possibility of being revoked, with the option for reapplication. Current water users with exemptions under Level 3 must adhere to Level 3b irrigation days and times.

Lindberg said regular enforcement blitzes will remain in place and we are also getting ready to target the highest 20 000 water users in the metro.

“We will imminently advise them of punitive measures that might be taken, such as fines for transgressions or the installation of water restriction devices if they do not reduce their usage by 20%. The majority of these high users are households in formal residential areas and have been identified as consuming 50 kilolitres per month. Prior to the water restrictions coming into effect, the average use per household used to be well under 1 000 litres per day or below about 30 kilolitres per month,” she said.

“Along with all these efforts, we need members of the public to help us to bring culprits to book.”

Residents can contact the City via email to for queries or to report contraventions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts).
For further information, residents should please visit our water restrictions page on the website:

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