City Thanks Residents for Saving Scarce Water | Western Cape Government



City Thanks Residents for Saving Scarce Water

13 September 2005
As the total capacity of the major dams supplying the City of Cape Town exceeds the 80% mark, current restrictions are to be modified to make sure that water saving habits learnt during last summer's severe drought become a way of life.

The City will also continue and intensify its water demand strategies to safeguard Cape Town's limited water resources for the future.

Mayoral Committee member for Trading Services, John Mokoena, praised residents of Cape Town who have worked together to achieve some 74% of tough water savings targets, set by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF).

"Everyone who has done his or her bit, no matter how small or how big, deserves the gratitude of the City and fellow residents. The savings by residents and good rainfall have raised dam levels. But, we have had a serious wake-up call and we must heed it and act. Our water resources are limited, the city population, the economy and water demand are growing and droughts will come again. We must conserve water," said Mokoena.

"Water users must retain awareness and commitment as we need to use water responsibly and have a proper water demand management system in place. We live in a water stressed area and the responsible use of water is the key to a sustainable city. The City's water restriction campaign has been one of the most intensive and lengthy campaigns ever run by the City. The impact has been positive and savings figures indicate positive changes in behaviour," he added.

The City together with the DWAF is currently considering which of the restriction measures now in place should be lifted and which should be retained. It is unlikely, however, that restrictions will be lifted entirely as the City would like to maintain good water management practices as a way of life until the water bylaws, now being drafted, are promulgated.

Executive Director for Water Services, Mike Marsden said: "preliminary discussions have been held between the City and DWAF and a joint announcement will be made at the end of September."

As at 12 September 2005, the total capacity of the major dams was 83,2% compared to 56,8% at the same time in 2004. On 1 October 2004, DWAF imposed water restrictions on the City of Cape Town and set the City a savings target of 66 million cubic metres. It is estimated that by the end of September 2005, the City will have achieved 76% of this target.

The 3,2 million population of Cape Town will continue to grow and use more water. Growth in the economy will also result in higher consumption. In order to use scarce and limited water resources in a sustainable manner, the City will have to carefully manage growth in water demand, look at ways to reduce it, primarily by changing the water consumption behaviour of consumers.

Sipho Mosai, Director of Water said: "Water conservation measures were not just about urging residents to save water. The City had to get its own act together in terms of responding to emergencies, bursts and leaks. Response time is down to 30 minutes on average. The Customer Call Centre was upgraded in response to requests for information and advice. Departments within the City were also compelled to adhere to the restrictions. Managers were made aware of the regulations on wasting water and disciplinary measures would be pursued for those breaking restrictions."

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