Residents should be prepared for disruptions to their water supply, especially during peak usage times in the mornings and evenings, as the City of Cape Town has activated the first phase of its Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan. Water users will need to make alternative arrangements for water or store water for usage.
The announcement this week of more stringent water restrictions follows the National Department of Water and Sanitation’s requirement that the City institutes a 40% water saving across all urbanised areas – a limit of about 500 million litres of collective usage a day. To ensure that it meets this demand, the City of Cape Town has introduced water rationing which means that pre-selected areas may experience intermittent and localized disruptions to their water supply. This will be done through extreme pressure reduction to limit water flow in the system. As a result, some areas in the city may experience short periods of limited to no water supply.
Unfortunately, unlike with the previous load shedding schedules for electricity outages, the City says it is unable to provide fixed time tables for the water disruptions as a certain amount of flexibility is needed to avoid damage to critical infrastructure. But the municipality has indicated that any zoned outages will likely occur during the peak water usage times in the mornings and evenings and advised residents as follows:
Keep up to 5 litres of water available for essential use only during rationing.
Do not store excessive water.
First check your neighbour’s supply if you experience any water disruptions to see whether it could be a case of rationing before calling the city’s call centre.
Residents or businesses in multi-storey buildings must ensure that the water supply system (booster pumps and roof-top storage) are in working order in compliance with the Water By-law.
The City is not liable for any damages to private infrastructure resulting from the rationing or associated operations.
Ensure that all taps are closed when not in use to prevent flooding/damage with the supply comes back.
The upper limit of 87-litres’ water usage per person each day remains in place, but there is now a greater emphasis on capping excessive water use at domestic household level.
Furthermore, the City will continue to install water management devices to limit the consumption of users who exceed the water restriction levels.
If water usage is not reduced, the City will be forced to activate phase 2 of its critical plan. This would mean “intensive daily rationing” that would include setting up water collection sites where residents would be allocated predetermined amounts of drinking water.
Residents are urged to do all that they can to drastically cut back on their water usage as Cape Town heads into the drier, summer season. This means limiting the use of municipal water to essential needs and implementing alternative measures to maintain properties and gardens.
Residents can contact the City via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for queries about the water pressure reduction, or to report contraventions of the water restrictions, or they can send an SMS to 31373.