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Joburg residents cut water demand by 15%, or else

Saving water requires a more practical approach than blocking taps.

Despite Johannesburg Water implementing level 2 restrictions on Johannesburg residents, demand has not dropped to acceptable levels and the city is taking a tougher approach.

According to the city’s MMC for Environment and Infrastructure, Anthony Still, the restrictions mean residents may no longer irrigate their gardens and only topping up of pools above the weir are allowed.

“Around 40% of water is used for gardening – which is discretionary – so we will only allow handheld hoses to be used for gardens but not for washing of cars and paving,” he said today, noting that the previous call to residents to conserve water have not made a big enough impression and had not changed behaviour. “While we have issued 182 fines already, collection is difficult. Therefore, we are asking residents to assist us and the JMPD by reporting those who abuse the system. We want a public name and shame to change behaviour.”

Still said residents with boreholes needed to display signs stating they were operating from a borehole to avoid receiving fines for irrigating.

A pool cover can save you 1,2m/annum (2/3 of pool volume) and save on chlorine, cleaning

The latest restrictions have been enforced due to the Vaal river system sitting at 51% capacity (anything below 60% is considered a drought situation), while it was 70% full the same time last year.

“The Vaal Dam is below 30% and water affairs says anything under 20% negatively affects intake valves,” said Still, noting that the Vaal Dam could be topped up by using other dams in the system – such as Sterkfontein Dam – but due to the Vaal Dam’s broad and flat construction evaporation is higher. “Water affairs will only top up when it has to because it’s currently still better to keep the water in Sterkfontein, for example.”

Gardening in the age of water restrictions

The city has requested residents to reduce their consumption by 15%, and that surcharges have been implemented for those exceeding 20,000l per month.

Still hinted that if residents did not reduce demand by 15%, level 3 restrictions could be enforced which would see water rationing coming into force.

25 water-saving tips you can do right now

Report non-compliance by phoning the JMPD 24/7 line: 011 758 9650


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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