The water-saving methods employed by the residents of the Mother City have payed off – Cape Town has been awarded a certificate by the International Water Association which acknowledges us as the first city in the world to reduce its water consumption by 50% in just three years.
Previously, Melbourne, Australia had reduced its water consumption by 50%, but took 12 years to reach this goal.
Since the city first entered drought status in 2015, many measures have been put in place by the City of Cape Town to help reduce water consumption, including the 50 Litre Life campaign and introducing steeper water tariffs.
Currently, the city’s water resources are at an average of 58.8% dam storage. Last year, at the exact same time, dam levels were at a low 29%.
Level 2 water restrictions were implemented in January 2016, and prohibited the washing of vehicles and paved areas, as well as the requirement that all taps, shower heads and other plumbing components be replaced with water efficient technologies. The water restrictions were gradually increased in severity until they reached level 6B restrictions. Amongst other restrictions, this means that each resident may use a maximum of only 50 liters of water per day.
The current daily average consumption level for the city is 590 million litres per day – the target is an average of 450 million litres per day.
Although the Mother City is yet to reach this target, the increase in dam levels as a result of the torrential winter rains has given the National Department of Water and Sanitation enough grounds to make the concessions that the current water restrictions would be relaxed if dams levels reach a provincial average of 85% by the end of the rainy season.
Many residents created communities that act as water management watchdogs, and adopted and shared water-saving techniques together.
To all those who actively saved water and still continue to do so, the City thanks you!