How to manage water restrictions at your home

Poor rainfall, extremely low dam levels, as well as a hot and dry summer season, has increased our need to continuously save water. For us to make sure that we have enough water available in our dams for everyone in our province, we all need to do our part to use water sparingly and adhere to the water restrictions which are in place.

level-4b-water-restrictions

Revised water restrictions

As from 1 July 2017, the City of Cape Town has implemented level 4B water restrictions as a result of not enough water being saved.

Level 4B water restrictions include:

  • No hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water.
  • No irrigation/watering with municipal drinking water allowed.
  • No washing of vehicles and boats with municipal water. (Commercial car washes may apply for exemption.) 
  • Private swimming pools may not be topped up or filled with municipal drinking water.
  • Use of portable play pools prohibited.
  • Water features may not use municipal drinking water.

For a more detailed outline of all Level 4B water restrictions click here.

We can only achieve our water saving targets together. Every citizen must be water conscious, and determine the importance of their water needs in relation to the water shortages. If you have any questions about water restrictions in your area, you can contact your local municipality.

Water reduction tariffs

Under level 4B restrictions we will still be charged according to the 2017/18 Level 4 tariffs. For example, the 2017/18 domestic full tariffs (stand-alone houses and cluster residence) for water are as follow:

Water tariffs 
Water (domestic full) steps (1kl= 1 000 litres) 201/2018 level 4 tariffs rands (including vat)
Step 1 (0<6kl) R4,56 (free for inddigent households) per kl
Step 2 (>6<10,5kl) R17,75 perkl
Step 3 (>10,5 < 20kl) R25,97 per kl
Step 4 (>20 < 35kl) R43,69 per kl
Step 5 (>35 < 50kl) R113,99 per kl
Step 6 (>50kl) R302,24 per kl
 

The 2017/18 domestic full tariffs (stand-alone houses and cluster residence) for sanitation are:

Sanitation tariffs 
Sanitation (domestic full) steps (1kl =1 000 litres) 2017/18 Level 4 tariffs rands (including VAT)
Step 1 (>0 ≤ 4,2kl) R4,39 (free for indigent households)
Step 2 (>4.2 ≤ 7.3 kl) R14,98 per kl
Step 3 (>7.35 ≤ 14 kl) R30,31 per kl
Step 4 (>14 ≤ 24.5 kl) R49,04 per kl
Step 5 (>35 < 50kl) R59,30 per kl

 

Water saving tips: 

  • You're not allowed to water/irrigate with municipal drinking water. This includes the watering/irrigation of flower beds, lawns, vegetables, agricultural crops, other plants, sports fields, golf courses, schools, learning institutions facilities, nurseries, parks and other open spaces. (Nurseries and customers involved in agricultural activities or with historical gardens may apply for exemption (visit the City of Cape Town website for the application process).
  • Please use municipal drinking water, at 100 litres per person per day.
  • No watering is allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation, (facilities/users making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well points are not exempt).
  • All wellpoints and boreholes must be registered with the City and used efficiently to avoid wastage and evaporation.(Visit the City of Cape Town website  for more information on registration).
  • If alternative water sources are utilised, ensure that you display signage which is clearly visible from a public road or street.
  • No hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with potable (drinking) water(except for health purposes) .Users, such as abattoirs, food processing industries, industries using water to prepare for painting or similar treatments, care facilities, animal shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs can apply to the Director: Water and Sanitation for exemption, (visit the City of Cape Town website for the application process).
  • Do not use municipal drinking water for ornamental water features.
  • The maximum showerhead flow rate may not exceed 10 litres per minute.
  • Flush toilets (manually using a bucket) with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.

Residential: 

  • No washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats using municipal drinking water is allowed. These must be washed with non-drinking water or waterless products.
  • No topping up (manually or automatically) of swimming pools allowed, even if fitted with pool cover. This includes the filling of new pools or the refilling of an existing pool after a repair.
  • The use of portable play pools is not allowed.

Businesses and public facilities:

  • The washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water ar not allowed except where an exemption has been granted. This applies to both formal and informal car washes. Vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats should be washed with nondrinking water or waterless products. Exemption on application may be granted if water recycling is used in the washing process, (visit the City of Cape Town website for the application process).
  • Fitted pool covers must be used for public swimming pools where practically possible.
  • No automatic top-up systems for swimming pools are allowed.
  • Spray parks are not allowed to opperate.
  • All public spaces must install water efficient parts to minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing components and must adhere to Water By-law requirements.
  • Golf courses, sports facilities, parks, schools and learning institutions can't establish any new landscaping or sports fields, except if irrigated only with non-potable water.
  • Contract conditions shall apply for any facility supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service intermediaries or water service providers). 

Other restrictions, not detailed above, still apply as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the Water Bylaw, 2010. Please visit the City of Cape Town website for more information on: Know your water regulations.

For queries on water restrictions please send an email to Water.Restrictions@capetown.gov.za.

You can also stay up to date with the water levels of the main dams supplying the Cape metropolitan area.


Here’s what you can do to save water and money
 

At home:

  • Take shorter showers and turn off the shower while soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. 
  • Make sure you put a full load into your washing machine and dishwasher before starting a wash cycle. 
  • Cut down the amount of water flushed down the toilet by placing a 2 litre plastic bottle full of water in the water tank (cistern) of your toilet. This could save you up to 7 300 litres of water each year. 
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running to rinse dishes. And if you have a double basin, fill 1 with soapy water and one with clean water to rinse. 
  • Install a system to pump grey water (from the washing machine, basins, shower and bath) to the garden.

In the garden:

  • Plant indigenous plants which can tolerate extreme heat and require little watering.
  • Group plants with the same water needs together, so that you don’t overwater plants with varying water needs.
  • Put a covering layer around trees and plants. Covering will slow evaporation and will also discourage weeds from growing.
  • You are only allowed to water your garden once a day on designated days.
  • The best times to water your garden is at sunrise and sunset. Watering between 9am and 4pm (when the sun is brightest) is not allowed.
  • Water your lawn long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly.
  • Plant in the right season. For winter rainfall areas, you will need to plant in autumn and early winter so the plants have a chance to develop their root systems before the dry season. In summer rainfall areas, you can plant in spring and early summer.
  • A dripping tap (1 drop per second) could waste up to 30 litres of water an hour, which adds up to 10 000 litres a year.

Water Usage in Public Sector

In the industrial and commercial sector:
  • Define water requirements for your organisation, building or unit of production.
  •  Appoint a person to track water use and identify strengths to build on and weaknesses to rectify.
  •  Ensure that people are aware of  how to report major water losses from leaking or damaged pipes and hoses.
  •  Encourage staff to report dripping taps and leaking toilets.
  •  Reduce the chances of leakage by turning taps off lightly and getting washers replaced when leaks are discovered.

These simple changes can help you save up to 10% on your annual water bill, without drastically changing your lifestyle. 

Educate your children about simple ways to save water  around the home and encourage your colleagues to start saving water at work.


Drop-the-block

drop-the-block

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in an effort to help citizens reduce the use of water, started the Drop-the-block campaign. This water-saving method of dropping a plastic block into the toilet cistern helps reduce the volume of water used when you flush your toilet.

Here’s what you need to know about Drop-the-block:

  • The block is made from recycled plastic to prevent erosion and blocking of the toilet.
  • The block is weighed down with sand and displaces up to 2 litres of water.
  • Toilet cisterns hold 9 to 15 litres of clean water which is dispensed with each flush.
  • After dropping the block into the cistern, a household of 4 people who go to the toilet 4 times a day, can save up to 32 litres of water per day.

If you’re interested to know more about the Drop-the-block campaign, read Drop-the-block for more information.


Exemption from water restrictions

We all need to save water and adhere to water restrictions. If however if you need to be exempt from these water restrictions, exemption will be approved in special circumstances.  Please visit the City of Cape Town website to find out how to apply for exemption from water restrictions.

Want to know more?

Read more about water saving tips:


How to become a responsible water user at home

The content on this page was last updated on 13 July 2017