With immediate effect, the City of Cape Town will be taking a number of new actions to drive down water consumption. This includes the institution of Level 5 restrictions and a further increase in pressure management.
But what does 87 liters of water actually mean?
The upper limit of 87 litres per person and the overall target of 500 million litres per day of collective consumptions remain in place, however, there is now a new emphasis on capping excessive water use at the domestic household level and placing additional restrictions on the commercial sector.
Measures to drive down consumption to 500 million litres of water per day are supplemented by other measures to augment the supply of water from non-surface water options by up to 500 million litres of water per day, which are currently under way. Together these actions form part of the approach to building water resilience over the short- to medium-term.
Notwithstanding the immense effort that many Capetonians have taken to reduce water consumption during the last year, there needs to be a further decrease in consumption if Cape Town is to safely navigate itself through the drought.
With regard to domestic properties, the 87-litre per person limit remains in place. However, the cap on individual domestic property usage is now set at 20 kl per month, beyond which the property owner will be subject to a very high fine. An engagement with the Chief Magistrate is forthcoming, but the fines are expected to be in the region of R5 000 to R10 000. Confirmation of fines will be announced shortly.
So what does 87 litres mean for Capetonians and South Africans… as we should all be saving water.
In order to figure out where and how we could save, I did a mini-audit of my daily use and this is how it went:
On average I drink around 2 litres of water a day plus have around a litre in my coffee (4 cups a day) but apparently the average cooking and drinking equals 15 litres a day (as per South African WaterWise stats).
I shower twice a day, once after gym in the morning and once before bed, which amounts to around 90 litres for a 6 minuter… which means I use up to 180 litres a day just soaping up.
Brushing teeth and washing hands apparently amount to almost 25 litres a day (as per South African WaterWise stats).
On average (that day) I went to the loo 6 times and I own one of those 9 litre eco-friendly toilets. That amounted to 54 litres used in just one day.
I also use my dishwasher once a day, every night which amounts to 20 litres a go and fill my pups and cats water up everyday which amounts to around 6 litres a day (I have 3 bowls of 2 litres each).
So… in total, my daily use is 300 litres.
Are you joking!!!! Thats not even counting the garden irrigation, filling up the pool every once in a while or dripping taps.
So how would I get down to 87 litres a day? Well, the next day I tested it.
The best way would be shorter showers, once a day not twice a day = can get to as low as 45 litres (1 Shower at 15 litres per minute for 3 minutes = 45 litres, its possible, I did it). I also put 2 buckets in the shower and used that for toilet flushing… up to 3 flushes!
Cooking, drinking, washing hands and brushing teeth feel like a necessity but in one day as I was able to get that down to just 12 litres.
The Dishwasher should only be used when full, and that for me is every second or third day = 8 litres a day. The pets would still need their 6 litres but my total was completely down.
Just by being a little “savvy” I was able to get my daily consumption to 71 litres. Totally doable.
The water crisis that is currently affecting Cape Town is also a South African crisis. We’re heading into “rainy season” in Johannesburg but there is no guarantee that we will have the rainfall we need so its up to every South African to make small changes to make a bigger difference.
Be more aware of your usage, and use a little less.