Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

City of Cape Town requests relaxation of water restrictions

The City of Cape Town has asked the national department of water and sanitation to marginally relax water restrictions for Capetonians after dam levels rose to above 60%. It is the first time the city has made such a proposal since the drought crisis first caused panic in the Cape.

Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement on Monday that the national water and sanitation department would respond to the city’s request on August 31. The request was made at a meeting last Friday, when dam levels were recorded to be at 60.1%.

READ MORE: Beaufort West runs out of water

In August 2017, the dams supplying the Cape were at a worrying level of just 34.1%, but water conservation efforts — firm restrictions imposed on citizens — as well as rainfall have helped to increase dam levels in 2018.

“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,” Neilson said in his statement.

The current water restrictions — which were established by the national water department — have seen urban residents cut their water usage by 45% in comparison to their average use in 2015 before the drought hit.

READ MORE: Drought crisis: Three provinces declared national disasters

In 2015, the city consumed 1.2-billion litres per day, whereas its average consumption over the past week has been 513-million litres per day. In their meeting with the water department, Neilson said a proposal was made for the city to be allowed to increase its water consumption by 5%.

In agriculture, water usage has been forced to drop by 60% in comparison to the average use in 2015. The city has proposed that agriculture be allowed to increase its water use by 10%.

Across the Cape, residents have taken to social media to demand that the city relax restrictions so that water tariffs can be reduced. The tariffs were increased this year after the city said the lack of water usage meant lost revenue for city coffers.

Neilson said the request for relaxed restrictions would ease water tariffs.

“The city has advocated for a conservative relaxation of the restriction levels, which would pave the way for the associated relaxation of the restriction tariffs,” Neilson said.

READ MORE: How Western Cape farmers are being hit by the drought

The city has also expressed its gratitude to residents for their efforts to save water.

“As always, we are grateful to our water users for all of the effort and sacrifices that have been made to get us all through this extreme phenomenon,” Neilson added. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Standard Bank mulls over shareholder climate resolution ahead of AGM

Climate considerations are pressing Standard Bank shareholders to push for the recusal of those with fossil fuel ties.

NW Premier Mokgoro ‘meddles’ in contentious R1.5m HOD appointment

Provincial HOD hired despite implication in ‘jobs-for-pals’ probe involving former minister Faith Muthambi

More top stories

Sweeter local sales rescue sugar

The master plan to rescue the industry means that at least 80% of sugar consumption will come from South African farms and millers

Public works tables ‘solutions’ to botched Beitbridge border fence tender

Scopa ‘disappointed’ by slow pace and lack of consequences on Beitbridge irregularities.

ANC resolute over its step-aside decision: Duarte

The governing party has identified 40 members charged with serious crimes who will have to step aside

New Covid-19 variant in South Africa ‘of concern at a...

The Covid-19 B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now listed as one of concern, but the World Health Organisation says it does not doubt the efficacy of global vaccines

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…