Drought crises: City of Cape Town institutes Level 4b restrictions for July


The City of Cape Town advises all water users that stricter water restrictions have come into effect from the 1st of July 2017. Level 4b restrictions will be used to drive down water usage to 500 million litres of collective water usage per day which is required as dam levels remain critically low and reserves need to be built up during winter for the expected harsh summer months ahead. 

In supporting Level 4b restrictions, the City requires all water users to immediately use less than 87 litres of water per person per day in total, irrespective of whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.

“We cannot thank all of those water users enough who have been shining water ambassadors over the past months and who have helped us to drastically reduce our water usage”.

“But, as we are expecting a very dry summer 2018 and rainfall probability and volume remain incredibly uncertain, we must cut our water use even more to save as much water as we can while we still have water. We ask all users to use less than 87 litres of water per person per day in total whether you are at home, work, school or elsewhere. Importantly, this target is not only for home use”.

‘This is part of our continuing proactive drought management interventions, along with intensifying the large-scale pressure reduction programmes across Cape Town to force down consumption. Other emergency interventions are under way”.

“However, there are many domestic consumers who are still using well in excess of 20 000 litres per month per household. We have been monitoring and engaging with high users and we will be issuing letters to them to warn them that we will be installing water management devices at properties with unjustifiably high consumption to limit their water use to acceptable levels,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

Water management devices would be installed in terms of a directive issued by the Director: Water and Sanitation in terms of the Water By-law, clause 36 (1) (a) and (b).

The programme to intensify the monitoring of high use properties will continue through July. Many residents at high consumption properties which we have previously engaged with have rectified leaks on their properties and have addressed other causes for unacceptably high water usage. The City also continues engagements with stakeholders in business, the informal car wash sector, and government departments.

To get to below 87 litres of water per person per day in total, residents are asked to:

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary, wherever you are.
  • Take a shower that is shorter than two minutes. Switch to an efficient shower head. Only do a ‘wipe down’ on alternative days to conserve water.
  • Collect your shower, bath and basin water and reuse it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning (bear in mind that grey water use has some health and hygiene risks you must.avoid; keep hands and surface areas sanitised/disinfected).
  • Defrost food 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.
  • 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 six litres per minute, as per the City’s by-laws.
  • Check for leaks on your property and fix it immediately.