Homeowners using more than 20kl of water a month could now face fines of between R5 000 and R10 000, after Cape Town’s water restrictions went to Level 5 at the weekend.
Apart from the new 20kl-a-month cap on individual domestic property usage, the new restrictions crack the whip on the commercial property sector forcing it to cut consumption of municipal water by 20% from usage a year ago. This sector includes offices and small businesses, but excludes industrial properties.
“Over the last year, all categories of water users have shown a trend of decreased consumption other than the commercial property category,” said mayor Patricia de Lille.
The upper daily limit of 87 litres a person remains in place, but Ms De Lille advised homeowners to keep emergency stores of between 2 to 5 litres of water as further pressure reduction could interrupt supply in higher-lying areas “for short periods during the day”.
Multi-storey buildings not using pumps and overhead tanks, as required by the City’s building regulations, were “likely to experience supply problems”.
Residents of these buildings should approach their body corporates or managing agents to ensure the systems were in place and being used.
A further drop in water consumption was needed if Cape Town was to “safely navigate itself through the drought”, said Ms De Lille.
As of last week, consumption stood at 599 million litres a day, well over the 500 million litres a day target the City set at the start of July.
“With the winter rainfall season likely to end in the next three to four weeks, we simply have to get used to using less water as we enter the summer season,” Ms De Lille said.
While offices and small businesses are going to feel the bite from these restrictions, Ms De Lille acknowledged that some commercial properties had “made great strides” to save water and the historical usage of individual commercial properties and their water-saving efforts would be taken into account “when considering any enforcement measures” in future.
“This measure is not intended to negatively impact business operations, but is to ensure sustainability of the commercial sector by bringing about the necessary behavioural changes and mindset to adapt to the new normal.”
Commercial water users could reduce their consumption by installing water-efficient plumbing fittings and water-saving devices and by promoting water-saving habits among staff.
Water usage in September would determine what actions delinquent users would face. Those failing to comply could face an admission of guilt fine or have their supply fitted with a water clamping device at their own cost.
“Installation of these devices in the households of the most excessive users commenced three weeks ago and will be ramped up in the coming weeks,” Ms De Lille said.
Visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater and http://bit.ly/ThinkWaterCalculatorCT for water saving tips. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for queries or to report contraventions or SMS to 31373.