Drought crisis: City ramps up campaign against leaks as dam levels continue decline

The City of Cape Town thanks consumers for their saving efforts but is concerned that usage has increased to 720 million litres of collective use per day, possibly following the hot and cold spell of weather last week.

The City warns consumers to save water consistently and not to be influenced by the weather.

The City has also finalised its latest list of Top 100 highest, non-indigent, domestic high water consumers for March 2017. It shows that leaks on private property, which is the responsibility of the owner to fix, remains a major cause of avoidable high consumption.

Approximately two thirds of the Top 30 properties on the March list, were found to have leaks on the properties which were the reason for the high consumption. City water inspectors have been engaging with the high users and most of these leaks have been repaired by the owners.

Engagements with other high users continue. A high user is classified as using above 40 000 litres of water per month – more than three times the volume that the average formal household should be using (about 12 000 litres per month). The top user according to the March list, located in Claremont, used 678 000 litres of water in March with a three-month average of 737 000 litres of water. High users were identified across the diverse suburbs of Cape Town.

By law, leaks on private property must be fixed by the owners of the properties. Where the owner is indigent, the City offers assistance through plumbing interventions and rebates.

In February 2017, the City released the first of its top users lists, which contained high users from across the metro. Since then, extensive investigations, interventions, verifications and rectifications have been implemented. The City is encouraged by the result, which of course directly equates to water savings.

‘In our own operations, we have reduced water losses to under 15%. This is an incredible feat considering that we have approximately 11 000 km of pipelines. We are committed to reducing these losses substantially over the medium-term in line with our water conservation efforts which have been recognised internationally.

‘Our engagements with the business sector also continue as we all acknowledge that changing our relationship with water must be a societal shift in attitude, not only during this time of severe drought, but as we go forward into a future with erratic and unpredictable climatic conditions. We reiterate our demand for households to reduce their consumption to less than 100 litres per person per day,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

How to check for leaks on your property:

  1. Close all taps on the property and don’t flush the toilets
  2. Check and record your meter reading
  3. Wait 15 minutes and record the meter reading
  4. If there is a difference in your meter reading, you have a leak
  5. Call a plumber if it is not a DIY job

One leaking toilet wastes between about 2 600 and 13 000 litres per month, depending on the flow rate of the leak. A leaking tap wastes between about 400 and 2 600 litres per month.

Residents can contact the City via email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.

For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater