19 January 2018

South Africa: Cape Residents Limited to 50 Litres of Water

Cape Town residents will from February be limited to using 50 litres of water per person per day for the next 150 days, as "Day Zero" draws closer.

"We have reached a point of no return. Despite our urging for months, 60% of Capetonians are callously using more than 87 litres per day. It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero," said City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille.

Day Zero is the day when taps will be closed and residents will be required to get water from various designated water collection points.

Due to the lack of cooperation by residents, the city had to implement level 6B restrictions that cuts the water usage of residents to 50 litres. The new restrictions will come into effect on 1 February 2018.

"The new daily collective consumption target is now 450 million litres per day. This will be in place for 150 days after which the city will reassess the situation. Level 6B restrictions will also limit irrigation using boreholes and well points," said Mayor De Lille.

The Mayor said the city has had to assume that high water users will not change their behaviour and therefore implement stringent measures to delay the chance of reaching Day Zero on 21 April 2018.

The city's seven augmentation projects which are set to produce around 200 million litres per day are not enough to avert Day Zero.

"While our water augmentation programme will make Cape Town more water resilient in the future, it was never going to be enough to stop Day Zero," said the Mayor.

Advanced Day Zero preparation

Planning for Day Zero is at an advanced stage with approximately 200 sites having been assessed. The city will be announcing everyone's local collection points from next week so that communities can begin preparing for that eventuality.

"We will also be making detailed Day Zero contingency plans available soon to answer all questions that residents and businesses might have," said the Mayor.

To reduce demand through advanced pressure management, the city has been hard at work to install water management devices at high consumption households.

"Our teams are also significantly intensifying the leak detection and repair programme, and we are rolling out education and awareness campaigns and extending our use of the treated effluent system which offsets the use of the drinking water for non-potable purposes," said the Mayor.

Teams are working around the clock to deliver the emergency plan for desalination, groundwater and water reuse.

A punitive tariff

She said Council will on Friday be voting on implementing a punitive tariff that will charge residents exponentially higher rates for water usage above 6 000 litres per month.

The table below outlines the difference between the current and the proposed punitive tariffs:

Consumption per month:

Current Tariffs - total household water bill:

New Tariff - total household water bill:

6 000 litres

R28.44

R145.98

10 500 litres

R109.50

R390.82

20 000 litres

R361.06

R1 536.28

35 000 litres

R1 050.04

R6 939.57

50 000 litres

R2 888.81

R20 619.57

"I will personally fight to ensure that the proposed punitive tariff exempts those who are using less than 6 000 litres per month," said the Mayor.

Provision will be made for households larger than four people to ensure that they are not unfairly penalised. Residents can contact the city beforehand on water@capetown.gov.za or enquire at their nearest walk-in centre.

The proposed drought charge is likely to be dropped. This after a massive outcry from Capetonians who felt that it was unfair.

"I understand that response and it has personally been a tough lesson for the city. I just want you to know that the city proposed the charge because we wanted to keep delivering important and essential services during this crisis.

"I wanted to continue making Cape Town a city that delivers opportunities for all. We are now going to have to make deep cuts to important projects," said the Mayor.

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