Simple ways to save water in your home

Level 3 water restrictions infographic

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.

Revised water restrictions
As from 1 December 2018, the City of Cape Town has implemented level 3 water restrictions.

Level 3 water restrictions include the following:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 70 to 105 litres per person per day.
  • A resetting of the overall city water usage target from 500 million to 650 million litres per day.
  • Removal of Level 5 restriction measures applicable to residential properties using more than 10 500 litres per month.
  • A lowering of tariffs to Level 3 tariffs.
  • No use of hosepipes or any sprinkler systems allowed.
  • No municipal water to be used for water features.
  • Vehicles can be washed using a bucket and not a hosepipe.

Read the level 3 restrictions guideline for a more detailed outline.

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.

Curbing excessive water use
All households must use less than 105 litres per person per day. 

If you have more than 4 people in your household and can provide the City with adequate motivation to justify higher monthly water use, apply to increase your current quota of water.

Alternative water sources signage
If you use alternative water sources, you must display appropriate signage that is clearly visible to the public at your property.

Wellpoints and boreholes
Wellpoints and boreholes should be registered with the City. Once registered, the City will send you the necessary display sign, free of charge.

Download, print and laminate the non-drinking water sign
If you make use of greywater, spring water or rain watter harvesting, you can download, print and laminate the City’s non-drinking water sign. It should be printed A4 landscape.

This sign cannot be used for wellpoint and borehole water use.

Water reduction tariffs

Water tariffs 
Water (domestic full) steps (1kl= 1 000 litres) Level 3 (2018/19) From 1/12/2018 Rands (including vat)
Step 1 (0<6kl) R15.73 (free for indigent households)
Step 2 (>6<10.5kl) R22,38 (free for indigent households)
Step 3 (>10.5 < 35kl) R31,77
Step 4 (>35kl) R69.76


Residential Sanitation Tariffs (Domestic Full and Domestic Cluster):

Sanitation tariffs 
Sanitation (domestic full) steps (1kl =1 000 litres) Level 3 (2018/19) From 1/12/2018 Rands (including VAT)
Step 1 (>0 ≤ 4,2kl)

R13,82 (free for indigent households)

Step 2 (>4.2 ≤ 7.35 kl) R19,67 (free for indigent households) 
Step 3 (>7.35 ≤ 24.5 kl) R29,43 per kl
Step 4 (>24.5 ≤ 35 kl) R52,96 per kl


Water saving tips: 

  • You can water with municipal drinking water using a bucket or watering can. This  is allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property. You're not allowed to use a hosepipe or any sprinkler system. Spray parks can operate but with strict management to minimise water use. Sports facilities, parks, schools, learning institutions, nurseries, customers involved in agricultural activities, users with historical gardens and customers with special requirements can apply for exemption from the above.
  • No watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation.
  • Please use municipal drinking water at 105 litres or less per person per day.
  • No watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed. (facilities/users making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well points are encouraged not to water/irrigate within seven days after rainfall that provided adequate saturation).
  • 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. Visit for how to register.
  • 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).
  • Don't use municipal drinking water for ornamental water features.
  • You're encouraged to flush toilets with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.


  • Washing vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with municipal drinking water is only allowed if you're using a bucket. Washing with non-drinking water or cleaning with waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.
  • Topping up or filling of swimming pools with municipal drinking water is allowed subject to 1) the pool being covered with a non-permeable solid pool cover when not in use and 2) the recovery of backwash water and the use of rainwater for pool topping up where practically possible.

Businesses and public facilities:

  • Commercial car wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms regarding water
    usage per car washed and recycle or reuse a minimum of 50% of water used.
  • Informal car washes to use only buckets and not hosepipes.
  • Washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with non-drinking water or cleaning with
    waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.
  • Spray parks to be strictly managed to minimise water use.
  • No new landscaping or sports fields may be established, except if irrigated only with non-drinking
  • For users supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service
    intermediaries or water service providers), the contract conditions shall apply.

Please visit the City of Cape Town website for more information on Know your water regulations.

Find a list of frequently asked questions about level 3 water restrictions.

For queries on water restrictions please send an email to

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. If you have a double basin, fill 1 with soapy water and 1 with clean water to rinse. 
  • Install a system to pump greywater (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're 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) isn't 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'll 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.



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 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:

Find out how citizens are saving water

The content on this page was last updated on 4 December 2018