Cape Town reached the endgame in the drought crisis on Monday as city authorities issued a “critical warning” to all residents and businesses to cut non-essential municipal water use immediately.
At the time this edition went to print, the City’s mayoral committee was expected to ask council on Tuesday to ratchet up water restrictions to Level 4, effectively banning the use of all municipal water for outside and non-essential purposes.
A City statement said dam levels as of Monday May 15 were at 21.2%, which is 0.8% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being usable, dam levels are effectively at 11.2%.
“We are essentially saying that you are only allowed to use a bit of water for drinking, cooking and washing. We are reaching a critical point in this drought crisis,” said Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy.
“Rain or shine, we are now at a point where all consumers must use below 100 litres per day. Stop flushing toilets when not necessary, shower for less than two minutes a day or use a wet cloth for a ‘wipe-down’, collect all would-be wasted water and use it to fill up toilet cisterns, among others.”
Ms Limberg said consumption needed to come down by 100 million litres of water a day.
The City also warned businesses to start implementing contingency and alternative water measures in their own operations.
The City has called for residents to:
Use water only for drinking, washing and cooking.
Only flush the toilet when necessary.
Take a short two-minute shower.
Collect your shower, bath and basin water and re-use it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning.
Defrost foods in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water
Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen, for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking etc.
Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers.
Residents can contact the City at firstname.lastname@example.org for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.