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The South Africa water crisis

THE CAPE TOWN WATER CRISIS: the day the taps are supposed to ‘run dry’ has been pushed back to 2019. This means Cape Tonians have been doing an amazing job at pulling together and keeping water consumption down!

*A note regarding the Cape Town water restrictions – advice for tourists*:

We welcome tourists with open arms to come and stay in our beautiful villas.  Cape Town remains buzzing this summer season and there has never been a better time to snap up our last minute deals! All we ask is that you ‘Live like a local’ and use 50 litres or less of water per person per day.

Advice to keep within your 50 litre a day water limit;

  • Take one short shower per day
  • Save the luxury of a bath for when you are back at home (use of baths prohibited)
  • Re-use your towels and be content with one linen change per week
  • Take a dip in the ocean to stay refreshed
  • Try to flush the toilet as little as possible (if its yellow, let it mellow)
  • Never leave the tap running
  • Only run a dishwasher and washing machine that is full
  • Stock up on 5L bottled water to drink
  • If you do not wish to compromise on your water usage, stay in one of our villas outside of Cape Town to avoid the water restrictions

Our taps are not forecasted to run dry during our peak tourist season (December – April). Please seek our advice on the best way to holiday in Cape Town during our water restrictions and let us guide you to villas which are well equipped to cater to your holiday needs. We take our responsibility in these water restrictions seriously but please note that all our villas do have water.

What is 50 litres of water? If you are unsure how much 50 litres of water   will give you, see below. We recommend drinking tap water – please be organised in buying bottled water or ask us in advance to order this for you.

What is 50 litres of water per person per day?

Further information for tourists, regarding the Cape Town water restrictions;

  • Tourists to Cape Town only account for 1% of water consumption. Please do not feel that coming to Cape Town will negatively impact the situation. Cape Town thrives (and needs) the tourism industry and we would very much like to come and experience our city that is still in full operation.
  • At this stage, the drought is specific to Cape Town and therefore there are many areas around South Africa that you can enjoy without being restricted by your water useage
  • The local government has specifically said that central Cape Town will NOT have their taps turned off. The CBD, which offers many wonderful accommodation options, will always be open for business. Day zero (forecasted for May means that restrictions will be down to 25 litres of water, not that taps will be turned off)
  • On the surface Cape Town is running as normal and therefore it is easy to feel that the city has not changed at all. Infact, there has never been a better time to benefit from excellent accommodation deals. You will likely only feel the impact of the water restrictions in your individual consumption levels. The beaches, restaurants, tourist attractions are all still here for you to fully enjoy! The benefits are less traffic on the roads and more ease in getting into the best restaurants 🙂
  • The photos you see on international news sites of Cape Tonians queuing for water is purely people queuing for the beautiful spring water direct from the mountains. People have ALWAYS gone to collect this spring water, which must be some of the best spring water in the world. There are now more people choosing that route – simply to use less water from their taps. This should not be represented as panic! We are very fortunate to have such a fresh, natural water resource in Cape Town
  • The situation is serious but the city is busy formulating alternative means of water supply with desalination plants and sourcing water from the giant aquifers under the city (amongst other things). We are just a few months from winter rainfalls and the feeling is positive that we will make it through – IF we all do our bit to keep within our 50 litres of water per day.


What does level 6B water restrictions mean?

Level 6B water restrictions include:

  • A daily limit of 50 litres or less per person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere.
  • Outdoor usage of boreholes is strongly discouraged. Usage for irrigation purposes will be limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 and after 18:00.
  • Borehole/wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records and have these available for inspection.
  • Permission from the national Department of Water and Sanitation is needed to sell or buy borehole/wellpoint water.
  • Agricultural users need to reduce usage by 60% compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought)
  • Commercial properties need to reduce usage by 45% compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought)
  • Residential units using excessive amounts of water will be fined or have water management devices installed on their properties.
  • Hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water is illegal.
  • Irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water is illegal.
  • No use of portable play pools.
  • Washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water is illegal.
  • Filling/topping up of private swimming pools with municipal drinking water is illegal.
  • Water features may not use municipal drinking water.
  • All residents are strongly encouraged to install water efficient parts, fittings and technologies to minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing mechanisms.

Cape Concierge comment on the water crisis for the Independent newspaper in the UK.

Cape Concierge interview with Michel Martin at NPR radio in the US regarding our water restrictions.

Cape Concierge comment for CNN Travel on the water crisis.