Water crisis continues in Cape Town

The depleted Theewaterskloof Dam from the air. Picture: Water from Air

The City of Cape Town has called on residents to do all they can to save water as the drought crisis worsens.

They are also planning further engagements with the business sector on the matter.

The City said on Monday that dam levels had now reached 22 percent (storage), with the last 10 percent of water unusable.

The City has also warned consumers to save water consistently and not to be influenced by the weather.

The City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said the City had also finalised its latest list of the top 100 highest, non-indigent, domestic water consumers for March.

It shows that leaks on private property, which is the responsibility of the owner to fix, remains a major cause of avoidable high consumption.

“Approximately two thirds of the top 30 properties on the March list, were found to have leaks on the properties which were the reason for the high consumption. City water inspectors have been engaging with the high users and most of these leaks have been repaired by the owners.

“A high user is classified as one who uses above 40 000 litres of water a month – more than three times the volume that the average formal household should be using (about 12 000 litres a month),” she said.

By law, leaks on private property must be fixed by the owners of the properties. Where the owner is indigent, the City offers assistance through plumbing interventions and rebates.

Ms Limberg added: “In our own operations, we have reduced water losses to under 15%. This is an incredible feat considering that we have approximately 11 000 km of pipelines. We are committed to reducing these losses substantially over the medium-term in line with our water conservation efforts which have been recognised internationally.”

How to check for leaks on your property:

1. Close all taps on the property and don’t flush the toilets.

2. Check and record your meter reading.

3. Wait 15 minutes and record the meter reading.

4. If there is a difference in your meter reading, you have a leak.

5. Call a plumber if it is not a DIY job.

One leaking toilet wastes between about 2 600 and 13 000 litres a month, depending on the flow rate of the leak. A leaking tap wastes between about 400 and
2 600 litres a month.

Residents can contact the City via email to 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.