Water restrictions escalate as water crisis continues

The City of Cape Town has released a critical warning to all water users in Cape Town to cut all non-essential use of water immediately. This means that water should be used only for drinking, washing and cooking. 

As water consumption continues to exceed the City’s target and current dam levels are dangerously low, the City is also exploring tightening water restrictions which are already on Level 3b. The word from the City is that “Rain or shine, we are now at a point where everyone must use below 100 litres per day.”

essential use of municipal water only

Ways to reduce water consumption

This is not a drill. Saving water is going to become inconvenient, but running out of drinking water would be moreso. Here’s some tips from the City on how to save water: 

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary. Don’t use it as a dustbin. ‘If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down’
  • Take a short 2-minute shower. A standard (non –water-saving) showerhead can use as much as 16 litres per minute
  • Collect your shower, bath and basin water and re-use it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning. *Greywater use has some health and hygiene risks you must avoid. Keep hands and surface areas sanitised/disinfected.
  • Defrost foods in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water
  • Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen, for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking etc.
  • Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.
  • Switch to an efficient showerhead which uses no more than 10 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.
  • Upgrade to a multi-flush toilet and/or put a water displacement item in the cistern which can halve your water use per flush.
  • Fit taps with aerators or restrictors to reduce flow to no more than 6 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.

Check for leaks on your property

One leaking toilet wastes between about 2 600 and 13 000 litres per month, depending on the flow rate of the leak. A leaking tap wastes between about 400 and 2 600 litres per month. So it’s a good idea to check for leaks on your property, and here’s some tips on how to do so. 

  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

Getting tourists to save water

We’re willing to acknowledge that its difficult for tourism businesses to control how much water is consumed simply because they can’t control the big consumers of water – guests. There’s ample information on what water saving devices tourism businesses can install and how staff and management can change their operating procedures to save water. The worry for many tourism businesses is how to rope in guests into saving water – without compromising guest satisfaction. Well, tourism businesses are going to have to swallow the bullet and change guest expectations simply because water security is more important.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Several businesses are already taking bold action to save water, and get guests involved in saving water. You can read more about them here