Cape Town Water Crisis: It will at least take three rainfalls to make a real difference

2017-06-07 16:10 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has urged residents to be cautious when using water in households as water is only permitted for essential use, irrespective of the rainfall that is being experienced.

SEE: Weather Update: Gale force winds, 100% rain predicted for most of Western Cape

Although Cape Town may have seen what is believed to the biggest storm in three years, the City says that all water users must continue to reduce their water usage to less than 100 litres per person per day in total, wherever they are.

The much-anticipated cold front, which made a landfall on Wednesday, 7 June is not a quick ticket out of the drought situation as it will at least take three consecutive winters of above-average rainfall to make a real difference, says the City.

"The City urges consumers, where possible, to use suitable containers to capture rainwater, which is perfect for flushing toilets, as an example. Flushing an average toilet could save nine litres per flush depending on the type of toilet.

"It must be noted that, due to climatic unpredictability, no one is able to definitely predict when our next big rainfall will occur. We must, therefore, continue to save water now and we cannot afford to have our water use influenced by the weather," says City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

SEE:  ALERT: Roads affected by #CapeStorm flooding 

Limberg says using less than 100 litres per person per day whether, at home, work, school or elsewhere still remains the requirement.

The City say that it has made a provision to capture some of the excessive inflows at wastewater treatment works by diverting it to maturation or retention ponds where available.

Added to this, there are critical points in the sewer reticulation system where stormwater is diverted to the sewer system.

"This water is treated to make more treated effluent available and an investigation is under way to see how to capture urban stormwater at a greater scale and then store it for later treatment and use," says the City of Cape. 

In addition, the City says that drinking water will remain safe to drink as rigorous and regular tests are conducted to maintain the high level of water quality.

ALSO SEE: UPDATE: Gale force winds of 80-120km/h Cape storm's biggest threat

A view of the Western Cape catchment dams on Tuesday 6 June:


NOTE: The City is running an exhibition at Canal Walk to showcase water-saving technologies from 9 – 11 June 2017. All residents who want to explore ways in which they can conserve water are encouraged to attend.

Residents can contact the City via email at 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 on how to adhere to the less than 100 litre usage requirement, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website.

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