Dam levels reach 21.2%

RUNNING DRY: Theewaterskloof dam photographed from the air at the beginning of May. Picture: Water from Air

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, the City said 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.

“Although we continue to work non-stop to force consumption down, overall use remains catastrophically high. This is not a request. We have seen huge saving-efforts, but the unseasonably hot autumn is exacerbating the situation and we must all do more.

“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 per day. “In a severe drought such as what we are dealing with, the only real immediate intervention is to cut usage,” she said.

The City of Cape Town also warned businesses to start implementing their own contingency water measures.

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. A standard (non – water-saving) shower head can use as much as 16 litres a minute

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 them 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 water@capetown.gov.za 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.