Brace for possible Level 4 water restrictions

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May 9, 2017
Brace for possible Level 4 water restrictions
Kaapstad's collective dam quantities are bordering on emergency level as the city council ponders raising water restrictions from Level 3b to Level 4 from the beginning of next month.

The municipality has around only 12% of usable water left in its dams amid diminishing quantities.

Mayco member for water services Xanthea Limberg said she would later this month implore the council to hike restrictions to Level 4.

“Any such proposal must first serve before the mayoral committee, which would have to recommend the proposal to council,” Limberg explained, adding that a proposed Level 4 tariff increase had been included in the draft budget for the 2017/18 financial year.

If approved, Level 4 water restrictions would include the banning of the use of potable water for all residential outdoor use. Residents will also not be allowed to fill or top up swimming pools, while the municipality would only use non-potable water to irrigate public parks and gardens.

Anton Bredell, MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, said: “In the remaining period before our expected rainfall season, we must do what we can to use even less water. To date consumers have been very cooperative and responded well to our calls to save water. But an even bigger effort is needed to ensure we don’t run out altogether.”

Bredell said his department was meeting with all stakeholders, including national government, on a regular basis to assess the ongoing situation and to devise strategies to tackle water shortages in the longer term.

According to the National Department of Water and Sanitation, the Cape Town Systems Dams, which consist of the Wemmershoek, Voelvlei, Steenbras Upper and Lower, Theewaterskloof and Berg River dams, had this week dropped to 21,70%, compared to 22.28% the previous week. During the same period last year, the Cape Town Systems Dams levels had stood at 31.71%.

Of the city’s six major dams, Theewaterskloof was hit the hardest.

“We must ensure that dam levels recover, so when it starts to rain, consumers should not revert back to using water wastefully,” Bredell added

The municipality had previously assured residents the “necessary adjustments” were being made to ensure water was treated to acceptable standards as the quality depreciated as a consequence of plummeting dam levels.

Average water levels for dams across the province were at about 20%, Limberg said.

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