NEWS

Cape Water Shortages 'Will Lead To War And Death'

Cosatu asks President Jacob Zuma to take urgent steps.

17/05/2017 20:35 SAST | Updated 17/05/2017 20:35 SAST
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The Steenbras Dam in the Western Cape.

The water crisis in the Western Cape will lead to war and deaths unless urgent steps are taken soon, Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) said on Wednesday.

"We know that we have asked for you to step down, but whilst you are still president we bring this urgent matter to your attention," the trade union said in a short open letter to President Jacob Zuma.

"The rich have money to buy bottled water, whilst the poor will be the first to start dying of thirst, because there is no supply or disaster plan for the end of July to get water to communities when taps run dry."

The City of Cape Town announced that it wanted to introduce Level 4 water restrictions which would ban all use of municipal water for outside and non-essential use and limit residents to 100l of water per person per day.

This means no car washing, watering of gardens, irrigation with municipal drinking water at all, and no new golf courses or sports fields to be built unless they will be watered with non-potable water.

Should Council approve the restrictions, it will be in effect from June 1.

Fines

The Level 3 restrictions had allowed watering by watering can for an hour on Tuesday and Saturday, but that would be out of bounds if the Level 4 restrictions are passed.

Filling and topping up swimming pools would also be prohibited.

The Level 4 restrictions would also come with sanitation tips such as using old bath water to fill the toilet cistern and not flushing each time the toilet is used.

''Use water only for drinking, cooking and essential washing,'' a statement from the city said.

It wants every Capetonian to use no more than an overall 100l of water a day.

The proposed fines for overuse still have to be approved by the council and the Chief Magistrate, but they range between R1 000 and R5 000 for a spot fine.

The city was also continuing with its pressure reduction programmes across the metro which forcibly reduces supply at a given time.

Other emergency interventions are under way, and if required, the city will start to implement a lifeline supply of water across the metro.

The city will announce the Level 4 restrictions if they are approved by council.