10/10/2017 12:08 SAST | Updated 10/10/2017 13:20 SAST

Taps Slow To A Trickle As Water Rationing Starts In Cape Town

"The new normal requires us to adapt the way that we have been doing things, in all aspects of our lives."

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The City of Cape Town has rolled out phase one of its Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan and pre-selected suburbs can expect dry taps during peak hours.

Water rationing through extreme pressure reduction is under way, the City said on Monday.

Under phase one, pre-selected suburbs can expect water supply disruptions for short periods of time, with outages likely to occur in the mornings and evenings.

The city's mayoral committee member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg advised affected residents to store five litres of water for essential use.

"The new normal requires us to adapt the way that we have been doing things, in all aspects of our lives," said Limberg.

On Monday, city-wide water consumption stood at 607 million litres per day compared with 618 million litres the previous week.

The City of Cape Town aims to keep water consumption below 500 million litres a day.

Meanwhile, dam levels increased by 0.2 percent to 37.8 percent compared with 37.6 percent the previous week. They were at 62.1 percent at this time in 2016.

In the Western Cape, dam levels were at 36 percent compared with 63 percent during the same period in 2016.

Limberg said the City of Cape Town will "shortly be launching one of its key initiatives", calling on tourists and residents to "save like a local".

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She said the awareness campaign will include airport billboards, branded flags in the central business district and waterfront area, and mobile billboards on beaches and in tourist centres.

The city reached out to cellphone service providers to see how they could help spread awareness, Limberg said.

"We can expect a bumper [festive] season and we will need all visitors to save like a local and follow the example of many of our water ambassadors."

But Capetonians remain the largest water consumers, according to Limberg. Additional restrictions and lower water usage targets will be put in place for permanent residents if required, she said.

"Our experience shows that the local outflow of people over the festive season and the closure of some businesses and industries, such as the construction industry, mostly balances the inflow of local and foreign tourists."

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the Western Cape government met with Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane last week to discuss several ongoing augmentation schemes.

"We had a productive meeting and I remain confident that all three spheres of government working better together can pull the province through this drought," he said.

The provincial government said the Theewaterskloof dam stood at 27.6 percent on Monday compared with 52.8 percent in 2016; the Voëlvlei Dam was at 27.26 percent, down from 71 percent in 2016; the Clanwilliam Dam at 40.37 percent, a decrease from 100 percent last year; and the Brandvlei Dam at 33.22 percent compared with 57 percent in 2016.

The local government, environmental affairs and development planning ministry is scheduled to appear before Parliament's water and sanitation committee during the course of the week, said Bredell.