NELSON Mandela Bay municipality faces a severe water crisis.
Most of the dams in the catchment areas are not even half-full.
"The last time we had rain was a week ago on Tuesday but it was just enough to green the gardens and too little to fill up the dams.
"If we do not get good rains the water in our dams will only last for nine to 10 months," said Kupido Baron, a spokesperson for the municipality.
The municipality has embarked on a drive to encourage the community to save water.
"We are spreading the message that water is very important," Baron said.
Besides adverts on billboards, radio and television and in newspapers encouraging people to save water, we have a mascot, Thontsi, who interacts with the community in persuading them to save every drop.
There are also 400 people who go from door to door educating the community about the importance of saving water and giving water saving tips," Baron said.
From yesterday all Nelson Mandela Bay residents are required to use no more than 500 kilo-litres of water a day.
Baron warned that harsh penalties would be meted to those who violated the restrictions.
"We decided on water restrictions meant to alleviate the crisis," Baron said,
"Those who violate the restrictions will feel it in their pockets. We ask people not to use hosepipes and sprinklers.
"Watering of gardens, lawns, racecourses, sports fields and washing of paved areas is strictly prohibited too." .