Stellenbosch imposes stricter water restrictions

19 February 2018 - 14:49 By Petru Saal
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Image: 123rf/ Harry Beugelink

The Stellenbosch municipality on Monday imposed stricter water restrictions‚ limiting home owners to using 6000 litres a month.

The municipality - which governs the towns of Stellenbosch‚ Franschhoek and Pniel – receives two-thirds of it municipal water from Cape Town via the Wemmershoek and Theewaterskloof dams. The new restrictions were imposed in ordr to bring the area in line with other municipalities which have already lowered monthly consumption to 6000 litres a month per household or 50 litres per person‚ per day.

“As of the end of March the municipality will switch over to our own water sources‚ which will make us independent from Cape Town water sources. By doing so more water will be made available to the city’s residents‚” the municipality said in a statement.

“Our own water sources should be sufficient enough during this crisis. Every resident should do their part in conserving water and stick to the new water restrictions.”

The new water restrictions in Stellenbosch ban the use of potable water for gardening or water features. Borehole owners were urged to comply with a directive by the department or water and sanitation to fit them with a device to monitor water consumption.

Stellenbosch is known for its surrounding wine farms‚ which have seen crop sizes diminish during the prolonged drought.

VinPro communications manager Wanda Augustyn said wine farmers were already off the municipal water grid .

“The irrigation water they get is from dams on the farms. Various cellars have different contingency plans as to how they use water.”

VinPro is a non-profit company which represents South African wine producers‚ cellars & industry stakeholders.

South Africa’s wine industry faces a challenging season ahead due to the continuing drought.

“Virtually no rain fell during the [December] period and many hot days (above 35°C) were recorded. Together with a persistent south-easterly wind‚ this increased the water consumption of vineyards. This available water is simply not enough to meet the needs of the vineyards at this stage.

“Vineyards are now beginning to show symptoms of water shortage and declining berry growth. Smaller berries mean a lighter harvest with lower juice levels which contribute to lower volumes‚” said Francois Viljoen‚ consultation service manager for VinPro.

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