City may instate Level 4 water restrictions


With Cape Town’s dam levels now at 22% – of which only 12% is usable – and the latest consumption having jumped up to 720 million litres of collective use per day, which is 120 million litres over the target of 600 million, the City of Cape Town is considering the implementation of Level 4 water restrictions. 

This would place intensified restrictions on the use of potable water for, among others, outdoor purposes such as watering gardens and filling pools.

“Any such proposal must first serve before the Mayoral Committee, which would have to recommend the proposal to Council. Council will have to consider the proposal at the Council sitting at the end of the month. A proposed Level 4 tariff increase has been included in the draft budget for the 2017/18 year. This too would be subject to consideration and approval by Council,” says Councillor Xanthea Limberg, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy.

In the meantime, the City has warned consumers to save water consistently, despite cooler weather and sporadic rainfall.

While compiling a list of the Top 100 highest domestic water consumers for March 2017, the City found that approximately two-thirds of the top 30 properties had major leaks, which resulted in the astronomic consumption.

The repair of such leaks is the owner’s responsibility and water inspectors have been engaging with users in question to explain this. Where the owner is indigent, the City offers assistance through plumbing interventions and rebates.

Users consuming above 40 000 litres of water per month – more than three times the volume that the average formal household should be using (about 12 000 litres per month) – are considered to be ‘high users’. The top user according to the March list, located in Claremont, used 678 000 litres of water in March with a three-month average of 737 000 litres of water.

‘In our own operations, we have reduced water losses to under 15%. This is an incredible feat considering that we have approximately 11 000 km of pipelines. We are committed to reducing these losses substantially over the medium-term in line with our water conservation efforts which have been recognised internationally.

‘Our engagements with the business sector also continue as we all acknowledge that changing our relationship with water must be a societal shift in attitude, not only during this time of severe drought, but as we go forward into a future with erratic and unpredictable climatic conditions. We reiterate our demand for households to reduce their consumption to less than 100 litres per person per day,’ said Limberg.

How to check for leaks on your property:

  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

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.

Residents can contact the City via email to for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.

For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website:

Featured image: City of Cape Town/Facebook

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