City of Cape Town relaxes water-usage limits and lowers prices

Cape Town water restrictions eased.
Cape Town water restrictions eased.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

Capetonians will soon be permitted to increase their water usage from 50 litres to 70 litres per person per day.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson made the announcement on Monday.

After a devastating drought‚ the province's dams are now at 68% storage capacity due to good rainfall at the beginning of winter.

"Water restrictions and the associated tariffs are thus to be conservatively lowered in the interim to Level 5 from October 1 2018. This will bring tariff relief of between 26‚6% and 70% per kilolitre of water‚ depending on the usage and tariff category‚" he said.

Neilson said the Western Cape Water Supply System’s dams were at 38% capacity at the end of the last winter.

The City of Cape Town has announced the planned increase of the daily water limit from 50 litres to 70 litres per person per day. From October 1 2018, Capetonians will see a change from Level 6B to Level 5 water restrictions, after good winter rainfall.

He said the recent drought was "so uncommon that it only has an estimated return period of 311 years".

Rainfall remains highly variable‚ and while May and June saw rainfall close to the average‚ July had very poor rainfall. This improved somewhat in August‚ with the positive trend continuing in September.

"The relaxation of restrictions is a moderate proposal that is based on a hydrological risk assessment that indicates that it is safe to do so at the level of risk that is agreed upon. Of course‚ the amended Level 5 restriction guidelines for water usage will apply and we are confident that the significant behavioural change that we’ve seen pertaining to water conservation will prevail to a large extent‚” Neilson said.

"The city believes‚ with the full support of the other catchment users‚ such as other municipalities and the agricultural sector‚ that an interim adjustment is fully justified and appropriate at this stage."

The move from the current Level 6B restrictions to Level 5 restrictions from October 2018 means:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 50 litres per person per day to 70 litres per person per day
  • A resetting of the overall city water-usage target from 450 million litres per day to 500 million litres per day
  • A relaxation of restrictions for commercial and industrial water users from a 45% to a 40% usage reduction
  • A lowering of tariffs to Level 5 tariffs.

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