More water restrictions for Cape Town?

Yesterday the City of Cape Town released a statement that demonstrates the seriousness of the water situation facing Cape Town this coming summer. Although we have experienced heavy late-winter rains, the dam levels are still below where they were this time last year, and we did see an increase in water tariffs in Jan-2016 as a result of the low dam levels, so it stands to reason that further increases should be expected. The city does claim that this is not necessary at this point, however the situation will be evaluated as we move further into summer.

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Extracts from the media release:

“Dam levels are currently almost 15% lower than for the same period last year, requiring us to manage our water resources in a careful and prudent manner.”

“We will also be lowering distribution system pressures where possible to reduce leakage from municipal and private water systems. This will mean that water may flow more slowly from taps and fittings.”

“It is likely that increased controls around designated times for watering gardens and similar will also be implemented.”

“‘However, any further restrictions will be deliberated by Council before this occurs. Residents should watch this space for more information in this regard,’ said Alderman Sonnenberg.”

 

MEDIA RELEASE
8 SEPTEMBER 2016

As the rainy season draws to a close, dam levels remain low. As such, the City calls on residents to implement water-saving measures at home. Meanwhile, the City is continuing work to optimise Cape Town’s supply system and reduce wastage through leaks. Read more below.

The City of Cape Town is considering the implementation of more rigorous water restrictions and other water-saving and optimisation measures. This is due to the current low dam levels as well as the requirement for a 20% curtailment in water use imposed by the National Department of Water and Sanitation.

Dam levels are currently almost 15% lower than for the same period last year, requiring us to manage our water resources in a careful and prudent manner. Should late winter rains be experienced, the City will review the situation.

‘During drought cycles such as the one being experienced, water restrictions and other water-saving and optimisation measures are necessary to ensure that water use does not exceed available water supply from the system of dams providing the city and the broader region with water. We have a collective responsibility to use water sparingly and ensure that the dams are not drawn down to very low levels over the coming summer period. While this may cause a certain amount of inconvenience and cost burden to our residents and businesses, it is important that we take a longer-term view and consider the possibility of the drought extending into the next winter rainfall period,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Alderman Ernest Sonnenberg.

The City will continue to optimise abstraction of water from the various dams in consultation with the National Department and surrounding municipalities. This may entail periodic adjustment to the bulk water distribution system, which could lead to intermittent water clarity issues or changes in water taste for those with sensitive palates. Should Cape Town experience unusually hot and windy conditions during summer, this may promote algal growth in the dams, which could also give rise to an earthy taste and smell to the water. Activated carbon is utilised at the water treatment plants to remove most of the taste and smell. All water supplied will remain safe to drink.

‘We will also be lowering distribution system pressures where possible to reduce leakage from municipal and private water systems. This will mean that water may flow more slowly from taps and fittings. We thank residents for their understanding in this regard.

‘It is likely that increased controls around designated times for watering gardens and similar will also be implemented. However, any further restrictions will be deliberated by Council before this occurs. Residents should watch this space for more information in this regard,’ said Alderman Sonnenberg.