Cape Water Crisis: Water-shedding is now a reality ahead of peak holiday season

2017-10-24 10:42 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Remember the days when Eskom would cut electricity supply because usage was too high during peak periods? The same concept is now being used by the City of Cape Town in an attempt to lower usage across the board. 

The City of Cape Town has issued a warning saying usage remains far too high for the critical state of water supply in the Western Cape and as a result it is forced to disrupt water supply during peak water usage times in the mornings between 05:00 and 09:00 and in the evenings between 17:00 and 21:00. 

Water shedding is high-lying areas

The City activated water rationing as part of the implementation of its Critical Water Shortages Management Disaster Plan. This action intensifies the preceding months of pressure management which continues to be done in an attempt to force water consumption down to required levels.

SEE: Cape Town hospitality pledging to be Waterwise

The city says the water rationing could lead to water supply disruptions if the usage is above the required levels during these peak times.  

With dam storage levels at 38.5%‚ with useable water at 28.5%, the city says its engineered rationing intervention was starting to have an effect on consumption but water usage must be reduced further.

Added to that, it says consumption is currently at 585-million litres of collective usage per day.

SEE: Cape water crisis: How tourists can ‘Save like a local’

According to the City, theoretically everyone should have water but that the duration of the outages would depend on the water usage for the area and whether it is within the water restriction levels.

Service will be restored as soon as demand decreases

The City says it will supplies sufficient water to an area‚ but if the demand is too high then those in high-lying areas or high-lying properties will experience some outages. The City, therefore, appeals to those in lower-lying areas to reduce usage to assist in terms of outages in the higher-lying areas. 

Service will be restored as soon as demand decreases to within the limitations of Level 5 water restrictions. If an area is using above the daily water limit, rationing through advance pressure management will continue until the limit is reached.

"It is therefore difficult to pin down an exact time for the duration of supply interruptions as it depends on the behaviour of the consumers, within a pressure zone," says the City.

SEE: Cape water crisis: City reduces swimming pool access for summer

The City’s mayoral committee member Xanthea Limberg‚ says reducing water usage remains the most vital intervention to help see the city through the summer ahead.

“With the help of almost half of Capetonians‚ as well as our pressure interventions‚ leak management programme and the installation of water management devices‚ we have brought usage down from more than 1.1-billion litres per day to the current volume - but further critical measures‚ such as pressure reduction‚ must be intensified to maintain reduced demand throughout summer‚” says Limberg.

Limberg says the city will continue to install water management devices on the properties of delinquent water users.

"Almost 7 000 have been installed to date. In addition, emergency augmentation schemes are progressing. It is foreseen that between 130 and 240 million litres per day will be at some stage of production between December 2017 and May 2018. This includes land- and sea-based desalination, water reclamation, and groundwater abstraction projects, if all goes according to plan," she adds.

"It must be noted that reducing consumption is non-negotiable, irrespective of augmentation projects coming online. We ask all water users to support us and to help us to get through this unprecedented drought which is affecting large parts of South Africa as well."

NOTE: For information on how to meet the daily water usage requirement and more visit the water restrictions page on the city’s website here.

'Take a stand with us'

With the recent drought hitting the Western Cape as a whole, kulula, in partnership with friends at Gift of the Givers encourage you to please take a stand and assist wherever possible to help farmers and animals. 

"Currently, 392 truckloads of fodder have been made available by farmers from other parts of the country and seeing that our business sector is transportation we donated R500 000 to help curb the R3 million fuel bill that will enable the fodder to get to the farmers.

"As a loyal kulula fan we would like to thank you for your non-stop support during the past 16 years of operation. None of this would have been possible without you. If like us, this situation has had a similar effect on you, we would like to encourage you to please assist wherever possible," says the airline. 

By donating, the airline says your donation will give some welcome relief to the many farmers and animals who have been severely impacted by this long period of drought, which may impact the entire economy as a whole.

NOTE: Please send a deposit slip to sooliman@giftofthegivers.org.

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