While the recent bout of rain in Cape Town has been welcomed with sighs of relief and open arms, the City’s water-scarce future remains inevitable. With this in mind, the city council has voted to approve a number of proposed amendments to the water by-law, many of which will affect the general public. These changes are aimed at improving clarity about the water restrictions, as well preparing residents of Cape Town to tighten the taps for the long haul.
These changes are as follows:
- Landlords must now keep record of consumption for each residential unit multi-tenant/sectional title complexes and apartment blocks. They also need to inform the city council if there are contraventions of water restrictions.
- Any new developments need to install water conservation and demand management systems, or alternative water systems, which must first be approved by the city before the building can begin.
- All swimming pools must be fitted with a cover to limit evaporation when not in use.
- Water storage tanks must be impervious to sunlight to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- There can be no cross-connection between potable (drinking) and non-potable (non-drinking) water systems on private properties.
- The irrigation of gardens is prohibited between 9am and 6pm. This includes using water from boreholes and well-points. Previously, no irrigation was allowed between 10am and 4pm and did not prohibit the use of water from boreholes and well-points.
- Although the technology is not yet developed enough to be implemented by the city, it will soon be possible to install pre-paid city council water meters to individual apartments in sectional title or multi-unit complexes.
- The allowed capacity of toilet cisterns has been lowered from nine litres to six litres and shower head flows from 9.5 to seven litres per minute. This does not mean that cisterns and shower head flows need to be replaced to comply, but only when necessitated by routine maintenance.
- The city council is now allowed to remove plumbers from its register if they have transgressed the water by-law. More so, the council can also institute legal action against them in the event of a transgression.
Residents and visitors of Cape Town should note that this amendment does not replace the Level 6 Water Restrictions that are currently in affect.
Together we can make Cape Town a water-wise city; what are you doing to save water? We’d love to hear back from you in the comments below.