Cape Town tightens water curbs due to South African drought

Cape Town intensified water restrictions as South Africa’s worst drought in more than two decades left the city’s dam levels lower than normal.

Users are required to cut water consumption by 20 percent from 10 percent, the City of Cape Town municipality said in a statement on its website. The restrictions started on Jan. 1.

The curbs have been initiated to “preserve the long-term sustainability of the resource,” it said.

A strengthening El Nino weather pattern has brought dry conditions to the sub-Saharan region, prompting South Africa’s weather service to predict below-normal rainfall for the next four months. The Western Cape province, where Cape Town is located, produces the bulk of the country’s wheat and wine grapes.

While the city will raise prices to encourage greater water-use efficiency, customers’ bills should remain at a similar rand value if they cut usage, it said.

Watering gardens with drinking water from municipal supply is allowed only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for a maximum of an hour per premises either before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m., it said. This includes watering with buckets or automated sprinkler systems.

 – Bloomberg