Enforcing the new Level 5 water restrictions imposed by the City of Cape Town, however difficult for bodies corporate of sectional title schemes, is of utmost importance, says Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM.
“In sectional title schemes, management of water usage is very tricky if there are no sub-water meters or prepaid water meters,” he says, “and it is going to be up to the trustees to establish a way of monitoring residents’ usage – or face huge fines if units go over the 20 000 litres allowed per household per month.”
The City has warned high water users that they will be imposing fines from R5 000 to R10 000 per month that the water usage goes over the allocated amount, which could cripple a body corporate financially if they have to repeatedly add fines to their already high water bills.
The sliding scale on which water is billed should be enough of a deterrent to over-usage and unit owners or tenants are urged to implement as many water saving practices as possible.
If not already doing so, people could repurpose grey water from their showers and basins into the toilet cisterns for flushing. Any water used for cooking vegetables or pasta that would usually be drained, can be used to water plants. Showers should be two to four minutes each, no longer, and clothes should only be washed if worn more than once. These are just a few things, among many, that could be done to save water, he said.
Multi-storey buildings that do not make use of pumps and overhead tanks as required by the City’s building regulations might experience supply problems due to the reduction in water pressure. Residents are encouraged to approach their bodies corporate or managing agents to ensure that these systems are in place and operational.
All residents in multi-unit buildings are advised to keep an emergency store of between two to five litres of water for drinking and basic hygiene at all times.
“We need to all pull together to stick to the 87 litre allocation per person per day, or face dire consequences later in the season. A handy calculator at http://mycapetownneeds.co.za/thinkwater/calculator.html, can be used to help people calculate what they are using daily,” said Bauer.