Cape Town water guzzlers are prepared to work with the City

Voelvlei dam, March 2017. Pic: Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town

A recent report by the City of Cape Town has identified residential areas where water is wasted excessively despite the gripping drought that sees dam levels at critical levels.

Residents from Cape Town areas that have been implicated as high water users have expressed preparedness to co-operate with the City of Cape Town’s water restrictions.

This came after the recent announcement by the City of Cape Town that areas such as Constantia, Kraaifontein, Lansdowne, Newlands, Rylands and Somerset West had wasted high amounts of water.

The new level 3B water restrictions came into effect recently to further limit the use of potable water for non-essential purposes as part of the City’s proactive management of the water crisis.

The City highlighted that an analysis of their water accounts for January 2017 reflected that some water consumption in these particular areas reached 50,000 litres and 300,000 litres.

“This is excessive, we warned these users to reduce water consumption immediately to below 20,000 litres per month. In addition to the top 20,000 residential consumers, the city is also stepping up enforcement within the commercial sector and government departments. The level 3B fine schedule also allows for increased spot fines of up to R5,000 should customers be found in contravention of the water restriction,” said Councillor Xanthea Limberg, a Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy.

Limberg warned that tough action will be taken against those who failed to co-operate to force them to reduce their consumption. The City has got 51 officials and an additional 20 new recruits from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which it deployed on its blitz operations.
They have reportedly issued 383 notices of contravention to high water users.

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Those who still contravened the restrictions could be fined between R3,000 and R10,000 and also face jail time.

Speaking to Elitsha, Ward 60 Councillor, Mark Kleinsmith said they are prepared to work with the City.

“This news came as a big surprise to us but our residents and the commercial industry are all extremely positive [and are making] special efforts to co-operate with the authorities in this regard,” said Mark Kleinsmith who represents Lansdowne.

Kleinsmith said they have appealed to all the residents through local community newspapers and the social media that they must make conscious decisions regarding water consumption.

Dairmuid Bairgrie, the Newlands Residents Association’s chairperson said they believed the City of Cape Town’s record on the matter and could not dispute it.

“We frequently send out email notices to all residents to beg them that they must please conserve water as much as they can after we became aware of these regulations. Tonight we will be having our Annual General Meeting and will try to enlighten them more about the matter,” said Bairgrie.

Chris Piggot, a 63-year-old father of three from Constantia said he had an installation of a water borehole structure which consists of a 10,000 litre water-storage tank.

Piggot said he used the facility for his carwash, garden irrigation, showering, swimming pool and toilet flushing purposes.

“I now use only a quarter of a kilolitre from the municipal water a day and my neigbhours have appeared to also be trying to comply with the new regulations by purchasing covers for their pools,” he added.

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The City has refused to admit that there are problems with its assessment and fixing of leaking pipes which has added to the problem.

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