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Cape business community urged to save water

The Western Cape Government has declared the province a disaster area, as the entire region suffers the worst drought in decades.

FILE: The Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging businesses to act now to save water, and avoid the effects of rising water tariffs and future shortages.

The Western Cape Government has declared the province a disaster area as the entire region suffers the worst drought in decades.

The chamber is likening the situation to that of electricity shortages and load shedding.

The chamber's Jeanine Myburgh says businesses should act now.

“The electricity crisis and tariff increases forced people to use less electricity and now they must do the same with water. Rainwater tanks are an obvious measure. Many businesses have an extensive roof area and are able to collect large quantities of water for their own use.”

LISTEN: Western Cape declared a disaster area

Meanwhile, long-term climate forecasts for the Western Cape indicate the region will become drier.

A week ago, delegates from various scientific institutions gathered in Cape Town to discuss the province's rainfall patterns.

Scientists revealed rainfall in the province from February to April was less than the same period last year.

The Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science, the South African Weather Service and the University of Cape Town participated in the discussion on Western Cape weather patterns.

Experts warn that the soil moisture deficit is so severe now that rain water will immediately be sucked up by dehydrated soil.

WATER SAVING TIPS FOR RESIDENTS

The city has also urged residents to follow these tips to save water.

Residents are reminded to use water only for drinking, washing and cooking:

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary. Don’t use it as a dustbin.

  • Take a short two-minute shower. A standard (non-water saving) showerhead can use as much as 16 litres per minute.

  • Collect your shower, bath and basin water and reuse it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning (bear in mind that greywater use has some health and hygiene risks you must avoid; keep hands and surface areas sanitised/disinfected).

  • Defrost food in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water.

  • Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking etc.

  • Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.

  • Switch to an efficient showerhead which uses no more than 10 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-laws.

  • Upgrade to a multi-flush toilet or put a water displacement item in the cistern which can halve your water use per flush.

  • Fit taps with aerators or restrictors to reduce flow to no more than six litres per minute, as per the City’s by-laws.

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's not a DIY job.

Additional reporting by Lindsay Dentlinger & Shamiela Fisher.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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