City calls for gradual relaxation of water restrictions

The City of Cape Town last week met with the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and proposed a gradual relaxation of water restrictions.

The meeting, on Friday 24 August, was held to review the current status of water in the dam system.

The City advocated for a conservative relaxation of the restriction levels, which would pave the way for the associated relaxation of the restriction tariffs.

Dam levels have again improved over the past week, rising by 1,9% to 62% of storage capacity, reads the City’s statement.

The average water consumption for the past week was 513 million litres per day, down from the previous week’s 527 million litres per day.

As dam levels have now exceeded 60%, the City, on a risk-based analysis, has proposed to the DWS that the water restriction levels should be conservatively and marginally relaxed.

The City’s proposal is that the urban restriction be relaxed from 45% to 40% and the agricultural restriction be relaxed from 60% to 50%.

These restriction levels were imposed by the DWS as part of the response to the severe drought in order to preserve the water in the dams supplying Cape Town, the Western Cape and the agricultural sector.

This means, for instance, that Cape Town is required to reduce usage by 45% of what it would normally be allocated.

This is also how the City’s target of reaching 450 million litres of water per day, or 50 litres per person per day, was calculated.

The City has been advocating a risk-based and conservative adjustment of restriction levels for some time now.

This proposal was supported by the other municipalities in the system. Agriculture representatives motivated for a greater relaxation for agriculture.

The DWS undertook to give a response tomorrow (Friday).

“As the water supply situation has improved adequately, it is essential that an appropriate relaxation of restrictions takes place as soon as possible, not only so that economic activity can be improved, but also so that water tariffs can be relaxed from the current high levels to give the necessary tariff relief to households and businesses,’ said Deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

The City thanked its water users for continuing to use as little water as possible in an effort to preserve the water in the dams. “This effort is helping to build a buffer against the summer months ahead. We are grateful to our water users for all the effort and sacrifices they have made to get us all through this extreme phenomenon.”

The City continues all programmes and initiatives to ensure that water usage remains as low as possible.