Cape Town Homes’ Taps Run Dry

Cape Town has already started cutting off water to certain areas. If you use your allocated amount, you could get cut off! Read more.
Melissa Cohen
The City of Cape Town has announced that Phase One of the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan(CWSDP) is in full effect. Residents can expect rationing of water as well as a decrease in water pressure. This comes after the city has been unable to limit water consumption to 500 million litres per day. There has however, been a decrease in water consumption in previous weeks. The city is currently consuming 607 million litres of water per day, compared to the 618 million litres consumed previously.

What Is The Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan?

Cape Town's dam levels are currently in dire conditions as dams are only 37.8% full. The city is currently in Level 5 water restrictions with residents limited to 87 litres per day. This plan has worked to save water, however authorities have announced that the city is using more water than planned. Cape Town Major, Patricia De Lille warned residents that the city will run dry of water by March 2018 if stricter measures aren't taken. The CWSDP is a three phase plan to limit water usage in the city as well as to create awareness. The Three Phases include:
  • Preservation and Restrictions (rationing);
  • Disaster Restrictions;
  • Full-scale disaster implementation or 'Day Zero'.
Authorities have explained that the plan is to maintain Phase One until the rainy weather next year.

What Can We Expect For Phase One? 

According to Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, Councillor, Xanthea Limberg, Phase One is in full effect.
"The City has already progressively lowered pressure in the system over the course of the past year, but is from this month intensifying this programme to ensure that preservation targets are met."
Many residents can expect a rationing of water and water outages during peak times, mainly the mornings and evenings.
"The City’s reticulation network is divided into supply zones, and water into all supply zones will be rationed through the use of pressure-reducing valves,"explains Limberg.
This phase doesn't limit the availability of water completely, but rather aims at reducing the consumption. Limberg has advised residents to make alternative arrangements in case of a water outage. Citizens are advised to make a 5 litre bottle of water available at all times for personal consumption.

Who Does This Affect?

It depends on the consumption of water in that community. Each household is rationed to 350 litres of water per day. If a household uses up their allocated amount, they will be without water until the following morning. A member of the Milnerton Neighbours Facebook group expressed concern as her household taps ran dry of water. Once they had reached their limit, they didn't have water until the next morning. She complained because this action was taken without any warning.
"The City of Cape Town cannot speak for other municipalities, however this practice is permitted in terms of Section 36 the City of Cape Town’s Water By-law," adds Limberg.
This by-law provides the right for any municipal authority to take action if there is a water scarcity in their region.
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How Will The City Monitor Residents? 

The City aims to reduce consumption via extreme pressure deduction and a water management device.
"These residents(with high water consumption) will first be warned that they have been identified as a high user and given a chance to self-correct. Failing this, a water management device will be installed."
The City has made a plan for the poorer communities as well as other institutions, such as hospitals.
"Special efforts made to preserve supply to critical services such as clinics and hospitals. Lower pressure in the system will result in short-term outages which will particularly affect higher-lying areas."
Day Zero is becoming a reality. For a full outline of the CWSDP, click here.