South Africa’s Cape Town announces stricter water restrictions

The City of Cape Town on Sunday announced stricter water restrictions amid persistent drought.

“With immediate effect, the City of Cape Town will be taking a number of new actions to drive down water consumption,” Mayor Patricia de Lille said.

This includes the institution of Level Five restrictions and a further increase in pressure management, she said.

The upper limit of 87 liters per person and the overall target of 500 million liters per day of collective consumptions remain in place.

However, there is now a new emphasis on capping excessive water use at the household level and placing additional restrictions on the commercial sector, according to De Lille.

Measures to drive down consumption to 500 million liters of water per day are supplemented by other measures to augment the supply of water from non-surface water options by up to 500 million liters of water per day, which are currently under way, the mayor said.

These actions form part of the approach to building short-to-medium-term water resilience, she said.

“Notwithstanding the immense effort that many Capetonians have taken to reduce water consumption during the last year, there needs to be a further decrease in consumption if Cape Town is to safely navigate itself through the drought, De Lille said.

Since July 1 this year, the city has been trying to reduce water consumption to 500 million liters per day. However, as of last week, daily consumption stood at 599 million liters.

“With the winter rainfall season likely to end in the next three to four weeks, we simply have to get used to using less water as we enter the summer season,” said De Lille.

With regard to domestic properties, the cap on individual domestic property usage is now set at 20 kiloliter per month, beyond which the property owner will be subject to a fine ranging from 5,000 rand (about 385 U.S. dollars) to 10,000 rand (about 770 dollars), the mayor said.

Cape Town, the country’s second largest city with a population of almost 4 million, has been suffering from water shortages due to a severe drought over the past two years.

Dam levels around the city were 34.2 percent as of Aug. 28 this year, compared to 60.1 percent in the corresponding period last year.

In the same period three years ago, dam levels were registered at 103.5 percent.

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