Did you know, everyday we can save up to 6 liters of water by simply closing the tap while we brush our teeth. Imagine all the water we could save if we all made a conscious decision to do our bit in the current water crisis.
The city of Cape Town has implemented level 3B water restrictions that are currently in effect. These restrictions are set in place to ensure we do all that we can to have access to have enough water to meet our basic needs. Essentially water-use restrictions and the accompanying higher tariffs are meant to encourage us to be more mindful of the water situation within our city.
The restrictions set in place are everyday things that we can all do to help save water. They are things that require minimal effort on our part, and we often underestimate the responsibility we all have to ensure water sustainability. The restrictions range from small scale water saving initiatives, such as installing water efficient parts to taps in our homes and work, to larger scale ones such as ensuring commercial car washes only use non-potable water.
Many people that I have spoken to have speculated that this water crisis is not an immanent problem, and many have doubts that changing their day to day water use can make a significant impact to save water.
So as citizens of this City, we can do so much more to make a change. Such change can begin by adhering to the restrictions set by the municipality. The most notable restrictions include:
- Not watering plants within 48 hours of rainfall, provided that the rainfall produces sufficient Earth saturation for the vegetation.
- Ensuring sprinklers don’t spray water onto paved or hard surfaces. This includes the washing of items on hard surfaces which is also prohibited.
- The use of water for irrigation purposes and watering of vegetation should only be done for one hour a day on either Tuesdays or Thursdays, before 9am or after 6pm.
- The topping up of swimming pools is only acceptable when the pool is fitted with a pool cover, thus no automatic top-up systems are allowed.
- The use of drinking water for ornamental water fountains or water displays are strongly discouraged. If drinking water is used for display purposes, it should be recycled.
Groundwater (that is usually obtained through boreholes) is also a resource that should be treated with care. Many people believe that it is not affected by the surface water shortage, yet it is. If our dam levels run low, our next plausible source of water is groundwater. Therefore, it should now be used efficiently to avoid wastage or evaporation. All borehole or wellpoints must be registered with the City of Cape Town. Once a borehole is registered, the household will receive an official sign stating the use of non-potable water and will not be fined for breaking the above rules. Essentially, borehole users should also adhere to the same water restrictions, to prevent stress on the groundwater reserve.
By Yaa Agyare-Dwomoh, BSc (Hons) Earth Science Student