Water crisis: City lowers water usage targets as dam levels decline
Thu, 2017-02-16 09:22
Approximately 135 days of useable water left
Dam levels have dropped to 36,2,%, which is 1,2% down from a week ago.
With the last 10% of a dam’s water not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 26,2%. The latest actual consumption is 825 million litres of collective use per day. The City of Cape Town has now lowered its water consumption target from 800 million litres to 700 million litres for collective water usage per day. Read more below:
If we are to reduce the consumption to 700 million litres of collective use per day, and at the current draw-down rate on dams, we could be looking at approximately 135 days of useable water left.
While the City thanks all of its great water-saving residents and businesses across the metro, water consumption must be lowered immediately. Cape Town is in a water-scarce region and at all times, but especially during this water crisis, we need to use water sparingly. Level 3b water restrictions, which limit the use of potable water for non-essential purposes, are in place.
‘The City has adjusted its target downwards from 800 million litres per day of collective use to 700 million litres per day of collective use.
‘In December 2016, the target of 800 million litres per day was set and this was subject to seasonal variations which, among others, affect the evaporation rate of dams. These variations have caused us to lower the target now. In addition, we have struggled to meet the previous target and we will therefore need a monumental effort to reduce consumption further and to meet a target that is one hundred million litres lower,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.
The City is one of the users of the Western Cape Water Supply System. Annually the metro uses about 65% of the water taken from the system, but currently while agriculture is still irrigating, the metro accounts for 40% of the use.
The City will intensify its engagements with the National Department of Water and Sanitation, who is the custodian of water resources and who is responsible for water supply. Restrictions must be adhered to as they were contemplated to be introduced during the design of the supply system as a component of the operating rules. This is the philosophy that has been adopted by the National Department in the design and operation of the Western Cape System to supply the municipalities.
‘In a drought situation, lowering consumption remains the most important intervention that can be made. The implementation of restrictions is a normal practice in water supply management and it is introduced during drought events as a means to trim the demand to the available supply. In a system with 97% to 98% assurance of supply, which is what we have, it means that in two to three years out of a hundred, there will not be sufficient water to meet the normal demand.
‘Our system is designed and modelled on the fact that the operating rule for drought years is to introduce the necessary levels of restriction to limit the demand in order to ensure sustainable supply,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.
Warning notices have also been issued in the rates bills of some of the metro’s highest use domestic, commercial and government department water users in an effort to further reduce consumption.
According to the January 2017 consumption, the highest water users are all using far above 50 000 litres of water per month while out of the almost one million customers that the City supplies with water, most households are using an average of approximately 20 000 litres per month or less.
‘Those who will not reduce their consumption voluntarily will increasingly be forced to reduce consumption. The installation of water management devices would assist households, businesses and other users with more efficiently managing their water consumption and this would result in financial savings as well,’ said Councillor Limberg.
Regular enforcement operations remain in place in addition to the targeted engagements with these top 20 000 highest water users. Furthermore, the City continues its long-term water infrastructure investment programme, the roll-out of its leak and pressure management programmes, and investigation into alternative sources of water.
Mayor De Lille, as well as the City’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, continue a regime of personally calling businesses, hotels and government departments unannounced to check up on their water use.
Later during this week, Mayor De Lille and her shadow mayors (area-based mayoral committee members) will start engaging personally with some of the high water users that have been identified through their water accounts and January 2017 consumption.
Residents can contact the City via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for queries or to report contraventions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.
For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website