Advice and Opinion

SA’s water restrictions should prompt households to save water

“The City of Cape Town’s announcement on the 18th October that Level 3 water restrictions will be implemented as of the 1st November 2016, is a warning to all households in the Cape that we’re in for a dry summer and that serious consideration needs to be given to the way in which water is consumed,” says Annette Evans, general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents of SA, Western Cape.

As of November, watering of gardens (which includes lawns, beds, vegetable gardens, sports fields, parks and open spaces) with drinking water from the municipal supply is only allowed if using a bucket or watering container, i.e. no hosepipes or automated irrigation systems are allowed to be used.

In addition, any vehicle may only be washed with water from buckets and swimming pools are only allowed to be topped up if they are fitted with pool covers. No automatic top-up systems and no portable play pools are allowed to be used.

The City has said that tariffs will also increase in proportion to the amount of water used in each household. The first 6 kilolitres are free of charge as usual but water will be charged per kilolitre after that – from R16,54 per kilolitre (if the household uses between 6kl and 10,5kl) to R200,16 per kilolitre (if the usage is above 50kl per month).

There are many things that can be done to save water, such as:

– Ensuring that there are no leaking taps or pipes in the home;
– Installing water saving shower heads or taps and only showering instead of bathing;
– If a bath is run, recycling that water into the flower beds or lawn in the garden.
– Running the washing machine and dishwasher only if full;
– Washing dishes once a day if done by hand;
– Reducing the amount of water used in toilets when flushing by putting a plastic bottle filled with water inside the cistern; or
– Turning off taps while brushing teeth or washing hands and not leave them running.

Further steps could be taken to save water, such as installing a rainwater collection system or grey water recycling system, and some people use a simple gravity fed elbow at the bath drainpipe straight into the garden, so as to redirect the water without the need of tanks or pumps.

“The City has also said that households need to consider a longer term view of what would happen if the drought extends into next season, and serious measures need to be taken to use water sparingly”, said Evans.