THE eThekwini municipality has appealed to residents to use water sparingly to avoid shortages and restrictions in the next three to five years.
Municipal water and sani-tation boss Neil Macleod urged consumers to make a positive start by making small lifestyle changes.
Consumers should start using water responsibly instead of taking it for granted, he said.
"The average daily water demand in our city is exceeding the supply.
'This means that Durbanites are likely to face water shortages and restrictions within the next three to five years if corrective action is not taken."
Macleod said water was precious and consumers were currently paying only about R9,09 for 1000 litres of water that is delivered to their home or workplace.
"This is ridiculously cheap when compared with the price of a cool drink or petrol at roughly the same price for just one litre," he said.
Macleod said to assist the city, the non-revenue water branch is implementing a range of water conservation and demand management measurements to reduce the risk of restrictions and continue the supply of water to new consumers.
"We need our consumers to work with us," he said. "The simple action of closing the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving can save up to 20 litres of water each time.
He said a leaking tap means a loss of about 75 litres of water, a day depending on the size of leak.
"Be proactive and fix cistern or tap leaks immediately.
Re-use fish tank water on your household plants. Besides saving water, it's also a good fertilizer."
Residents can to report leaks and illegal connections or tampering to the toll free number 0801 313 013, e-mailEservices@dmws.durban.gov.za or SMS or use MXit on 083-707-3013.