Water Restrictions Cape Town: Overcome them by Making Water

Since the beginning of the water crisis, the City of Cape Town has instituted various levels of water restrictions. These water restrictions have been implemented as a way to reduce water and ultimately conserve water in the dams. As the water shortage has gotten worse, more stringent water restrictions have been imposed.  Here follows a list of all the water restrictions that the City of Cape Town has instituted since the beginning of the drought.

Water Restrictions Cape Town

water restrictions cape town

  • Level 1: Because Cape Town is situated in a water-scarce region, level 1 water restrictions are in effect at all times – 10% water savings.
  • Level 2: Imposed on 1 January 2016 to preserve long-term sustainability by increasing tariffs and implementing stricter water use measures in order to decrease consumption – 20% water savings. Some measures include washing vehicles with automatic self-closing hosepipe devices, replacement of faucets with water efficient technologies, and no hosing down of paved areas with drinking water.
  • Level 3: Imposed on 23 October 2016 – Restrictions included using only a watering can to water/irrigate a garden, no use of sprinkler systems, watering times limited to mornings and evenings, and topping up of pools is only permitted if the pool it fitted with a pool cover.
  • Level 3B: Imposed on 1 February 2017 – Dam levels reaching 39.2% (usable level at 29.2%) prompted the city to impose further water restrictions. Watering of gardens restricted to Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 and after 18:00 for one hour only with a bucket or watering can and no washing of vehicles with municipal drinking water.
  • Level 4: Instituted on 1 June 2017 – Dam levels at 21.6% (usable levels at 11.6%). Watering gardens with municipal drinking water prohibited, Flushing of toilets with non-potable water (greywater or rainwater) strongly encouraged, top up of pools prohibited, vehicle washing with municipal drinking water prohibited, and customers restricted to 100L per person per day.
  • Level 4B: Effective from 1 July 2017 – The goal of these restrictions was to bring down water usage to 500 million litres per day collectively.  The key change from level 4 restrictions was a reduction in the allotted portion per person per day from 100 litres to 87 litres. In addition, the city would install water management devices at properties with unjustifiably high consumption levels.
  • Level 5: Effective from 3 September 2017 –  Included a further increase in water pressure management, “very high fines” (R5,000 – R10,000) for individual domestic property owners exceeding the allotted limit of 20kl per month, and residents were encouraged to keep an emergency store of 2-5 litres of water for drinking and basic hygiene at all times.
  • Level 6: Introduced on 1 January 2018 – Use of borehole/ well point water for outdoor purposes like irrigating is strongly discouraged in order to preserve groundwater resources,  homes to use a maximum of 350 litres a day, and the introduction of a controversial ‘water tax’ or ‘drought levy’ linked to property value designed to raise more capital for long term drought solutions.

The major of the City of Cape Town, Petricia de Lille has urged citizens to store at least 5 litres of water for emergency situations when the water supply could be erratic.

If the situation does not get any better the city will institute the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan in three phases.

Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan

  • Phase 1 – Preservation Restrictions: water rationing through extreme pressure reduction involving water rationing and temporary water cuts.
  • Phase 2 – Disaster Restrictions:  more intensive water rationing in order to maintain human life and critical services. The day that this phase is reached is also known as Day Zero.
  • Phase 3 – Full-scale Disaster Implementation: occurs when the there is no more surface water for the City to access. Non-surface potable water (sourced from underground supplies like aquifers and springs) will be available for providing citizens with drinking water only. Water to critical services will be significantly reduced. In this phase there is a limited amount of time before the water supply system fails entirely. (see our post for more on the emergency water plan)

How to overcome – Make water!

make water at home cape town

Although the situation facing Cape Town is very dire, there is a way that households can overcome. Instead of simply reducing their water usage, citizens can also begin making water. A technology known as Atmospheric Water Generation involves producing pure drinking water by harvesting moisture from the air. Average household machines can make anything from 20, 50, 100, or even 1000 litres a day depending on the model. By purchasing such machines, Capetonians can make good strides towards overcoming the water restrictions, especially when things reach phase 2 of the emergency water plan and the water to households get cut off.

Check out our campaign, if you would like to find out how you can purchase this technology and help your family overcome the water restrictions.

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