The Western Cape is currently experiencing a devastating shortage of water with the result that Level 3 water restrictions were put in place on 1st1st November last year. Current reporting would suggest that still not enough people,(domestic users, primarily), are taking these restrictions, or indeed this catastrophic shortage, seriously enough.
The Water Crisis in Cape Town
- nohoses or irrigation systems permitted
- onlywater garden with a bucket in the morning and evening
-no watering allowed within 24 hours of any rainfall providing decentsaturation (if only!!!!)
-wellpointsand boreholes must be registered with the City and used efficiently to avoidwastage; if you are using alternative water sources, please display clearsignage
- use abucket to wash your vehicle
-MANUAL top of swimming pools is permitted providing the pool is fitted with acover to slow down evaporation. NO automatic top-up systems are allowed
-use of paddling pools not allowed
-no hosing down of hard surfaced, paved areas
-water features may only use recycled water
-maximum showerhead flow must not exceed 10L per minute
-toiletcisterns may not exceed 9.5L in capacity
The above regulations are primarily applicable to domestic users.
Clearly establishments and organisations requiring exceptional water useage tofunction must apply to the Director of Water and Sanitation for informationand/or exemption.
Heavy fines are being imposed on those who exceed acceptable usage, and thecity is also encouraging whistleblowing!
Hints for preserving water:
Save tap water:
1 if you leave your tap running you spend anaverage of 12L of water per minute. Turn off the tap while brushing your teethor when you are washing-up. A leaking tap can waste up to 120 litres of waterper day so check taps are working. Always keep a bowl in the sink to catch anyexcess water which can be used in the garden.
2- Save water while washing:
It is better to have a shower instead of a bath,as the latter consumes 2 to 5 times more water than a shower (80L on averagefor a shower and 150L for a bath). You can also reduce your water consumptionby equipping your bathroom with basic devices such as pressure-reducingvalves. Keep buckets in your shower to collect excess water, which can beused in the garden etc.
3- Clean your house without using chemicaldetergents:
Certain products such as chemical detergents orwashing liquids (or powders) are not absorbed by wastewater treatment plants,which means they are carried to lakesand rivers and pollute them.
4- Use an eco-friendly washing-machine and reducethe number of cycles you complete
“A” class washing-machines significantly reducewater consumption (by 50%) and electricity consumption (by 44%). They also havea higher wash load than “C” class washing-machines. You’re advised to selectthe “economy-wash” programme in order to save water and electricity. Rememberto use your washing-machine in an eco-friendly way, at a full capacity.
5- Use your dishwasher advisedly – ifpossible wash by hand
A dishwasher consumes around 10L of water perwash whereas washing-up by hand consumes 42L. Also remember only to use yourdishwasher at full capacity.
6- Use 100% recycled paper and limit yourprintouts:
One ton of recycled paper saves 20,000 litres ofwater. That is why if you use unbleached 100% recycled paper instead ofbleached paper you save 90% of water and 50% of energy.
10- Choose a dual flush toilet system:
This flushing system allows you to reduce toiletwater consumption by 15 litres per day for a two-person household. If you don’thave one, you just need to put a sand-filled bottle inside the cistern. Thissystem will reduce your toilet water consumption by 50%. Beware: a leakingflushing system accounts for extra consumption of 30-250m³ per year!
7- Collect rainwater:
Sadly there is no rainwater to collect, but whenour rains come again, collect rainwater at home. This not only saves water butalso helps avoid overloading drainage systems during flooding.
If you have a query on any aspect of water restriction and useage, please email-
Written by Carrie Turner 18th January 2017