Western Cape could face water limitations

18 September 2016 - 16:46 By Sibongile Mashaba

Water shortages could force the Department of Water and Sanitation to institute limitations on the Western Cape water supply system (WCWSS).Lack of rain in the country has led to the water shortages.In a notice published in the government gazette on Friday‚ the department’s director-general Margaret-Ann Diedricks said the limitations would apply from the date of the notice‚ September 16.She said there would be a “20% curtailment on all water use”.The restrictions would apply to all areas within the Berg-Olifants and Breede Gouritz water management areas.“I ... on reasonable grounds believe that a water shortage exists in/on the WCWSS and/including other areas in/of the Berg River‚ Palmiet River and Riviersonderend catchment areas due to insufficient rains and restricted rainfall predictions for the oncoming winter season...“It is necessary to limit the taking of water that feeds the major dams and is taken from the WCWSS‚” Diedricks said.She said the supply system comprised of several dams‚ most of which were located in the upper regions of the Berg River and Breede River catchments.“The system supplies raw water to the City of Cape Town‚ the West Coast district municipality for domestic supply to Swartland‚ Saldanha Bay‚ Bergrivier and Stellenbosch local municipalities to augment supply to Stellenbosch and to agricultural users downstream of the Berg River‚ Voëlvlei and Theewaterskloof dams‚” she said.Diedricks said she had given preference to the maintenance of the reserve and treated all water users on a basis that it is fair and reasonable.“[I] considered the actual extent of the water shortage‚ the likely effects of the shortage on the water users‚ the strategic importance of any water use and any water rationing or water use limitations by a water services institution...”Diedricks said she would allow the affected water users and other role players to comment on the matter before instituting the limitations.Water restrictions have been implemented in parts of Gauteng including Johannesburg‚ Ekurhuleni‚ Emfuleni in the Vaal and Tshwane‚ which announced water restrictions last week.A notice published in the August 12 government gazette said municipalities drawing water from the Vaal River should limit urban water use by 15% and 20% on irrigation “with immediate effect”.- TMG Digital/Sowetan

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