4 October 2017

South Africa: Water and Sanitation On Water Restrictions for Agriculture and Domestic Users in Western Cape

press release

Further water restrictions for agriculture and domestic users

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as a sector leader under the guidance of Minister Nomvula Mokonyane gazetted a further 20% of water restrictions for both domestic and agricultural use.

The prevailing drought in the Western Cape forced the department to take precautionary measures to decrease the quantum of water use from the system. The Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) consists of the following dams: Wemmershoek Dam, Voelvlei Dam, Upper and Lower Steenbras Dams, Theewaterskloof Dam as well as Berg River Dam. The combined water levels at these dams as of 03 October are at 37.14%.

These further restrictions limit the intake of water by all users from the system as follows:

From 20% to 40% restriction on all domestic and industrial use.

From 30% to 50 % restriction on all agricultural water use.

These restrictions apply only to users supplied by the Western Cape Water Supply System. While these are precautionary restrictions intended at limiting the taking of water by all users, members of the public are encouraged to continue using water with extra caution.

DWS Western Cape Provincial Head, Mr Rashid Khan says with these new restrictions, the department would in all likelihood avoid day zero. Day zero refers to the day water availability equates to zero supply.

The department congratulates water users who are adhering to current restrictions. Water users are urged to explore alternative sources. These include desalination of sea water, recycling of grey water and the exploration of ground water.

Mr Rashid Khan said "we need to make sure that we curtail the supply in order to stretch what is available in our dams as improved water saving is for our towns and municipalities. I urge all Water Services Authorities to ensure that all domestic users at least have access to basic water services".

Seeing that the agricultural use supplied from the Western Cape Water Supply System is now limited to 50%, the department does not envisage a significant reduction of agricultural activities.

These restrictions will be lifted once the Western Cape Water Supply System reaches above 85% of the dam storage.

The Department would like to remind all water users that efforts to save should be adhered to and it is everyone's responsibility to ensure that the little water that we have is conserved at all times.

Issued by: Department of Water and Sanitation

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