The need for sustainability in Cape Town is now more urgent than ever. With our dam reserves below 12% at the time of writing, and with no sign of the current drought crisis ending, there has never been a more urgent time to rethink the way we live.

Even though it has been raining, the City has emphasised that all restrictions remain in place and that citizens are urged to keep reducing their use of water. 

“Water is not to be taken for granted. To run out of useable water is to be presented with a crisis of catastrophic proportions. ” – Mayor Patricia De Lille, City of Cape Town

Water crisis in Cape Town

As of the beginning of June, the City of Cape Town has issued Level 4 water restrictions in an effort to stretch our meagre reserves through the drought. Recent rains, despite giving us a glimmer of hope, are no substitute for the sustained rainfall our catchments need, so please do not be fooled into thinking Cape Town is no longer in crisis. We all need to remain vigilant and make an effort to conserve water.

“I request our residents to think carefully how they use water each day. Each of us must create our own personal water budgets. ” – Mayor Patricia De Lille, City of Cape Town

What restrictions are in place?

The City of Cape Town reminds all residents that it is essential to keep our consumption under 100 litres per person per day. Furthermore, the following actions are not permitted by law:

  • No irrigation or watering of gardens with tap water.
  • No topping up or filling of swimming pools with tap water, even pools with covers.
  • No washing of vehicles (including boats) with tap water.
  • No fountains, waterfalls or water features may use municipal water.
  • No hosing or washing of paving with municipal water.
  • No porta-pools or play pools may be used.

Anything else that we should know?

  • All municipal water remains safe to drink. Claims to the contrary are hoaxes.
  • Water pressure to all parts of the city has been reduced.
  • Low levels of the Theewaterskloof Dam have resulted in an earthy flavour to the water, due to a substance called geosmin. This is a naturally occurring compound and has no health effects.
  • Residents are advised to keep a 2-5 litre emergency water supply, in case supply is temporarily interrupted.

“It might be very hard and very difficult now but the risk of running out of water is even more disastrous. I request every Capetonian to push harder than ever before. ” – Mayor Patricia De Lille, City of Cape Town

South Africa is a water-stressed country, and Cape Town is no exception. We need to accept that the "New Normal" may not allow us to have green lawns, long showers and daily carwashes. But together, we can ensure that the New Normal is a secure one for all Capetonians.

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