City’s Council amends and approves proposed water restrictions
The implementation of Level 2 water restrictions was today approved by the City’s Council after an amendment to the report that allows for relaxed rules in certain instances. In addition to getting residents to tighten up on their water usage, this will have implications for their water accounts. In addition, the City would like to inform residents that they may experience a slight change in the taste and colour of their water going into summer due to lower dam levels.
The implementation of Level 2 water restrictions was today approved at the City of Cape Town’s final Council meeting of the year. The committee approved the step up to Level 2 water restrictions in Cape Town, after an amendment was made to cases pertaining to alternative water source users.
The amendment states that when watering gardens, parks and open spaces with alternative water sources (rain-water harvesting, grey water reuse, treated effluent water, wellpoints and boreholes) residents are encouraged to do so only before 09:00 or after 18:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and to display the appropriate signage which must be clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. Users must be registered with the City in order to do so.
This was in response to customers who expressed dissatisfaction with the stringent measures being applied to those who have already taken steps to use alternative water sources in the interests of reducing their consumption.
As we are situated in a water-scarce region, the City imposes Level 1 restrictions (10% water savings) at all times. Because the City’s dam levels are lower than the norm for this time of year, it was proposed that the City implement Level 2 restrictions (20% savings) to preserve the long-term sustainability of the resource.
Customers should note that from 1 January 2016 they will be charged according to a tariff designed to be revenue-neutral when applied to the 10% reduced consumption levels. In other words, if the customer reduces their consumption by 10%, their bill should remain at a similar rand value. Indigent customers’ free allocation will not be affected, nor will the free first 6 kl a month for all residents.
For example, if a resident normally uses 24 kl of water every month at a cost of R294,62, and they reduce consumption by 10%, they will continue to receive a bill for a similar amount. However, if implementation of the Level 2 tariff is passed by Council, 24 kl will cost them R344,75.
For an average domestic customer, the differences in price are as follows:
(The City’s pricing system is a stepped-pricing mechanism where the price per kl of water consumed increases as the level of consumption increases)
Steps Unit Level 1 (10% reduction) Level 2 (20% reduction)
Step 1 (0 < 6 kl) Per kl R0 R0
Step 2 (>6 < 10,5 kl) Per kl R11,07 R11,66
Step 3 (>10,5 < 20 kl) Per kl R15,87 R18,24
Step 4 (>20 < 35 kl) Per kl R23,51 R29,75
Step 5 (>35 < 50 kl) Per kl R29,03 R45,40
Step 6 (>50 kl) Per kl R38,30 R85,09
If a customer is on the Domestic cluster tariff (flats/complexes supplied by a single meter), the Commercial tariff, the Backyarder tariff, the Industrial tariff, or any of the other specialised tariffs, this table shows how the change applies: Click here
Furthermore, if passed by Council, residents will have to abide by the following, more stringent regulations:
• No watering (e.g. using buckets) of a garden, sports field, or other grassed area using potable water between 09:00 and 18:00
• No watering (e.g. using buckets) will be permitted within 24 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes or other alternative sources are not exempt
• Irrigation (e.g. hose pipe/sprinklers) is only to take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during approved hours, and for no longer than an hour in total. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes or other alternative sources are not exempt
• If alternative water sources are utilised, customers should ensure that they display signage to this effect clearly visible from a public thoroughfare
• Where a hosepipe is used for irrigation, it must have a controlling device attached at the end
• No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with potable (drinking water from tap) water
• A hosepipe used for washing vehicles must be fitted with an automatic self-closing device
• Automatic top-up systems for swimming pools and garden ponds are not allowed. Furthermore, the use of a pool cover is recommended
• Commercial car-wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms. Informal car washes must use buckets rather than hosepipes
• Wash basins in public facilities must be fitted with demand-type taps
• Showers provided at public facilities must be fitted with demand-type valves
• Potable water may not be used to dampen sand or other building material to prevent these materials from being blown away
• Standpipe draw-off taps must be of a height of at least 450 mm, measured above ground level
• The maximum flow rate from any tap installed at a hand basin may not exceed 6 litres per minute
• The maximum flow rate of any showerhead may not exceed 10 litres per minute
• Water closet cisterns may not exceed 9,5 litres in capacity
• Automatic flushing cisterns or tipping tanks shall not be used for flushing a urinal
• All automatic flushing cisterns fitted to urinals must be replaced with manually operated systems, or non-manual apparatus that only flushes after each use
• Terminal water fittings (taps and outlets) installed outside any buildings, other than residential buildings, must incorporate a self-closing device; or have a removable handle for operating purposes; or be capable of being locked to prevent unauthorised use; or be of a demand type that limits water use for each operation
• Water audits must be undertaken annually by major water users (more than 10 000 kl a month), but excluding where these are multiple dwelling units
• No person may allow water, used as a heat-exchange medium in any equipment or plant and supplied from a water installation, to run continuously to waste except for maintaining a prescribed level of total dissolved solids in a recirculating plant
• Ornamental water features may only be operated if the water is recycled
In addition, the City would like to inform residents that changes to the bulk water distribution system could intermittently impact on water pressure, clarity or taste within some areas of the northern and central suburbs of the city. These changes became necessary due to the low level of the Voëlvlei Dam.
Resultant flow changes in some of the water pipelines may temporarily cause cloudiness or a slight discolouration in the water. Residents with sensitive palates may also notice a slight change in the taste of their water as it will now be coming from a different mix of sources.
Water consumers in several parts of the city may have also experienced an earthy taste and odour to their drinking water caused by low levels of Geosmin in dam waters. We would like to reassure residents that this is a naturally occurring compound and is neither toxic nor harmful to health. Water quality is monitored continuously and all water supplied will be entirely safe for human consumption.
Residents and visitors are assured that the City is working proactively to manage available water resources and reduce the effects of geosmin in the source waters – concentrations of which are anticipated to increase with lower dam levels and hot, windy conditions.
The City would like to remind residents that these are not punitive measures, but rather the City taking the necessary steps to protect our water supplies and guard against finding ourselves in full-blown crisis, as has been the case in other municipalities.
The City thanks residents for their cooperation and understanding.