Water management devices installed, but usage remains above target

More than 1000 water management devices have been installed in homes across the metro, as the City begins implementing stricter strategies to force down water usage.

This, however, is far below the City of Cape Town’s initial aim to install about 2 000 devices a week.

The mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said: “It is all hands on deck and this, and other operations, are happening on a 24/7 basis. High (water) users are being addressed across the city.”

Dam storage levels are at 37.8%, with useable water at 27.8%. Consumption remains at 607 million litres of collective usage per day, 107 million litres above the crucial consumption target of
500 million litres.

The City’s plan to avoid acute water shortages comprises three phases:

Phase 1 has been activated with water rationing through extreme pressure reduction. As water rationing is intensified, this will lead to intermittent, localised temporary water supply disruptions.

Phase 2 is a disaster stage. Residents will be able to collect a predefined quantity of drinking water per person per day from water collection sites.

The City’s law enforcement and various resources, including police and the SA National Defence Force, will be deployed to ensure that general safety is maintained throughout the city.

Phase 3 is the extreme disaster phase.

Non-surface drinking water supplies from groundwater abstraction from various aquifers and spring water, will be available for drinking purposes only. The City will distribute this water to residents through water distribution points.

“The implementation of further phases would primarily depend on water consumption and how quickly all water users in Cape Town respond to the call to
drastically reduce consumption,” Ms Limberg said.

Between December and March/April next year between 150 and 250 million litres per day are expected to be at some stage of production, through land- and sea-based desalination, water reclamation and groundwater abstraction projects, said Ms Limberg.

Kevin Winter, of UCT’s Future Water Institute, said: “The City had hoped the more gentle approach would work to get consumption down. “The fact is that this has not been successful enough. At the moment, rainfall from January to early October at the Cape Town International Airport weather station has been 135mm. On average, we would have expected 450mm to 500mm.”

Predictions are that by March next year supply of municipal water would not be available if consumption is not reduced.