Level 3 water tariffs to bite in December

The City of Cape Town has implemented the Level 3 water restrictions recently -however the tariffs will come into effect from tomorrow, Thursday December 1.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services has urged residents and businesses to conserve water due to the dam storage levels. Level 3 means 30 percent water savings are applicable when dam levels are critically low.

Mr Sonnenberg said a key difference between Level 2 and Level 3 restrictions was that watering was only allowed with a bucket or watering can.

Hosepipes and irrigation systems are banned, and cars and boats can only be washed from buckets. Swimming pools must be fitted with a pool cover to prevent evaporation and no portable play pools can be used.

According to the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) Reconciliation Strategy Steering Committee, last year recommended that the Voelvlei Augmentation Scheme Phase 1 be implemented as the next scheme to supply additional water to the WCWSS.

This would involve building a scheme to pump excess winter water from the Berg River into Voelvlei Dam.

Beyond this, water supply schemes, such as surface water augmentation schemes, expansion of our groundwater use, reuse of wastewater effluents and desalination are planned over a 20- to 30-year time horizon.

Mr Sonnenberg said fines would be enforced from December to allow residents time to adjust to the new restrictions.

Contraventions can result in a spot fine of up to R3 000, escalating up to R10 000 on conviction, or possible jail time for serious and repeat offenders.

Fadiela Booley, the owner of Classics Hair Design in Athlone, said that her hairdresser had been finding ways to save water.

“We wash the brushes in a bucket and use that water for cleaning the floor. We wash the towels in a bucket, one for dark colours and one for white towels, and use that water for whatever we need it for. We also rinse the clients’ hair quicker and open the tap slower,” said Ms Booley.

Mr Sonnenberg said the hot summer months generally started with a spike in water use as residents filled their pools and used more water in their gardens.

“If we are to meet our targets, residents will need to cut these activities back to winter levels, or intensify their efforts to save in other areas to keep their consumption in line with how much they used during winter,” he said.

MrSonnenbergsaid approximately 70 percent of water in Cape Town was used by residential customers, and as such they had the biggest influence on how secure our future water supplies were.