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Drought crisis: bad apples ruining the efforts of the many water-savers<p>During this time of drought, we have appealed to all residents, businesses, and government departments to work with the City of Cape Town to conserve water.</p><p>Reducing consumption is the key intervention during a time of drought as international best practice shows. </p><p>The City continues to monitor the water usage of the top 20 000 high water consumers in formal residences as well as commercial, industrial, and government properties in all suburbs. No one is escaping our efforts to see to it that consumption is reduced voluntarily, or forcibly if required.</p><p>We have such great water ambassadors in every suburb, but we have many rotten apples as well who are spoiling all of our efforts to conserve water.</p><p>Over the past week, the City has issued 36 fines for contraventions of Level 3B restrictions.</p><p>The fines range from R500 to R2 000 and were issued in the following areas:</p><ul><li>Blackberry Mall, Strandfontein</li><li>Van der Heever Street, Kuils River</li><li>Building site in Mitchells Plain</li><li>Riebeek Street, Cape Town</li><li>Building site in Duinefontein Road, Heideveld</li><li>Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth</li><li>Turfhall Road, Lansdowne</li><li>Barnard Street, Bellville</li><li>Hippo Lane, Zeekovlei</li><li>Vasco Boulevard, Vasco</li><li>16th Avenue, Elsies River</li><li>Voortrekker Road, Parow</li><li>Cambridge Street, Plattekloof</li><li>Car dealership in Voortrekker Road, Bellville</li><li>Island Park, Paarden Eiland</li><li>Duminy Street, Parow</li><li>Durban Road, Wynberg</li><li> Building site in Retreat</li><li>Victoria Road, Southfield</li></ul><p>These fines were issued to residents and businesses for various contraventions, including using potable water to wash a vehicle, washing down hard surfaces with a hosepipe, irrigating without permission and outside designated times for garden watering, use of a sprinkler, and water wastage (i.e. leaking taps, pipes, overflowing hot water cylinders). </p><p>It is unacceptable that people are still not adhering to water restrictions. This is unlawful. </p><p>This abuse of water means that we will all suffer.</p><p>In terms of naming water abusers, the City will only publish the identities of residents or commercial properties once they have paid a fine or once they have appeared in court in connection with their transgression of Level 3B restrictions.</p><p>There are many residents and businesses who are doing their utmost to save water and we thank them for their efforts. This is making a difference but if we all work together, we can manage the drought crisis in a collaborative manner even better.</p><p>During my visit to Pinelands last week and driving through various areas in Cape Town, I have noticed many dry gardens and this tells me that most residents are working with us to save water.</p><p>In addition, I have communicated that I am personally calling commercial properties about their water use where we have noticed higher than average consumption patterns.</p><p>The response from the commercial sector has been very good and they have committed to doing even more to work with the City to enhance their water conservation efforts.</p><p>The Tsogo Sun hotel group wrote to me following my call to say that they have introduced several measures to save water. This includes installing flow-restrictors on taps and low-pressure heads on showers. Staff members are continually monitoring water usage against certain targets. The hotel group has also put up notices at the reception counters urging guests to assist in saving water.</p><p>The Vineyard Hotel has implemented several initiatives to convert their business into a sustainable enterprise. For example, they have installed low-flow shower heads in all guest bathrooms and have a strict maintenance programme to monitor and correct leaks.</p> The Shoprite group has suspended all garden irrigation and washing of trucks across all of its facilities in the province and they are using bricks in all toilet cisterns to save water. An audit of all taps in stores has been undertaken, with self-closing taps being installed where problems have been identified. <p> </p><p>The Cape Town International Airport has also communicated their commitment to minimising water consumption. Some of the changes they have implemented include low-flush systems and sensors on bathroom taps, indigenous landscaping, and making use of borehole water for irrigation.</p><p>In our own operations, the City has implemented drastic water-saving measures. This includes not watering vegetation in our parks, issuing strict directives for the use of only non-potable water in cases where vegetation must be watered for essential purposes, and even shutting off the water supplied to fountains irrespective of whether non-potable water is being used.</p><p>In addition, washing of the exterior of our buses, which was previously undertaken on a daily basis, was limited to once every two weeks. In many of our buildings, we have retrofitted our toilets with dual-flush water-wise toilets. We are currently expanding our existing pressure reduction programme to effect more water savings.</p><p>Where we can improve efficiencies in our own operations, we are making every effort to do so.</p><p>Furthermore, a total of 270 special exemptions have been revoked and we are currently reviewing Level 3 special exemptions, which include large single residential units, body corporates, homeowners associations, and estates, so as to bring them in line with the stricter Level 3b water restrictions criteria. Exemptions remain under scrutiny and there is no guarantee that a beneficiary will again be granted an exemption.</p><p>The following table outlines water usage per category:</p><div class="mobile-scroll">​​<br> <table><thead><tr><th>Category</th><th>Percentage</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Houses</td><td>55,6%</td></tr><tr><td>Flats and complexes</td><td>9,2%</td></tr><tr><td>Domestic other (e.g. old-age homes, homeless shelters)</td><td>1,8%</td></tr><tr><td>Informal settlements </td><td>4,7%</td></tr><tr><td>Retail and offices </td><td>11%</td></tr><tr><td>Industry </td><td>3,9%</td></tr><tr><td>City-owned facilities and departments </td><td>5,2%</td></tr><tr><td>Government </td><td>2,5%</td></tr><tr><td>Other (standpipes supplied for construction purposes, schools, sports grounds, community organisations </td><td>6,1%</td></tr><tr><td>Total </td><td>100%</td></tr></tbody></table></div>​​​ <p>Residents can contact the City via email to <a href="mailto:water.restrictions@capetown.gov.za">water.restrictions@capetown.gov.za</a> for queries or to report contraventions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.</p><p>For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website: <a href="http://www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater">www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater</a> </p><p> <b>End</b></p>2017-02-22T22:00:00ZGP0|#904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7;L0|#0904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7|Statements;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#8f0aed5b-4ba7-472c-92c5-c1c5bc737567;L0|#08f0aed5b-4ba7-472c-92c5-c1c5bc737567|water restrictions;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#11ad03a0-a59b-469c-b6e7-58a036a7c002;L0|#011ad03a0-a59b-469c-b6e7-58a036a7c002|water crisis;GP0|#4aeffa45-6f38-46b7-bd4d-6ecf13ae2543;L0|#04aeffa45-6f38-46b7-bd4d-6ecf13ae2543|dam levels1

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