Cape Town – The City of Cape Town will be installing 51 000 water management devices on properties of those it has identified as the metro’s most excessive users.
Starting as soon as this week, it will be rolling out about 2 000 installations a week.
The Mayco Member for Informal Settlements, Water, Waste Services and Energy, Xanthea Limberg, said the City had “engaged” excessive users, and they would not be able to object to the installations.
“Those excessive users who have been engaged with and who have not reduced their consumption will be subject to installations.
“New identified excessive users may make representation to the City immediately but, in general, the City will systematically start installing devices on all excessive-usage properties, irrespective of a justification or not.
“Excessive users are using above 20 000 litres per month,” she said.
Limberg added that property owners would be liable for the cost of the installation at R4 700.
The City issued a statement saying it aimed to force consumption down with the device to 350 litres a day, which would amount to about 10 500 litres a month.
The mass rollout comes after water consumption was 122 million litres over the City’s target of 500 million litres.
Dam storage levels are at 37.5%, with usable water at 27.5%, and the City said every person was allowed to use only 87 litres of water a day.
Kevin Winter, of the UCT Future Water Institute, said the water management device was a good idea but should have been implemented a long time ago.
“Why could the City not identify the users sooner rather than later?
“I think they tried the softer approach of creating awareness and spreading education about the crisis, but now people have gone too far and we are desperate,” he said.
“We are in a race against time because our dams are running low. The interventions the City has planned are not ready yet.
“We have to reduce our consumption to buy us time until the City can start supplementing our supply.”
Winter said these were very “anxious times every week counts right now”.
He said the future was unpredictable.
“We have to reduce our consumption nobody is clear on what the future holds in terms of this crisis.”
Limberg said it would take a collective effort from residents, businesses and industry to get through the drought.
“Consumption must immediately be reduced to 500 million litres of collective usage per day,” she said.
“This is our new normal. We must start adapting to the new normal which is a characteristic of a water-scarce city and province such as Cape Town and the Western Cape.
“We need the whole of society to stand with us and to help us to get through this drought, but also to start laying the building blocks for a more resilient city over our longer-term future.”
She said no water augmentation plans were running yet.
“The first tenders are being finalised shortly. In the City’s water resilience plan which was advertised some weeks ago, the first water augmentation plan was scheduled to provide a yield at the end of October.
“The City will continuously communicate progress on implementation of the plan,” she said.
South African Weather Service forecaster Michael Barnes said: “Rainfall figures recorded so far (by yesterday) have been on average 5-10mm in the Cape Town metro area.”
Barnes said rainfall was not expected for the rest of the week.
The City urged residents to check their water usage by registering on e-services at http://cct.gov.za/sh5O5