Cape Drought: Do Your Bit

South Africa is a water scarce country and to add fuel to fire, the Western Cape has been in the grips of the most devastating drought in over a century, pushing the region’s water resources to their absolute limits. Now, as dams are reaching critically low levels, the province has been forced to introduce extreme water restrictions in various municipalities.


While most areas are currently faced with a Level 4 restriction, the City of Cape Town is bearing the brunt of it all with Level 5 in place. This means, residents are allowed to only use 87 litres of treated water per day for drinking, washing and cooking. Should Capetonians fail to adhere to this strict water limit, the City will implement water rationing during peak hours.

  • 05:00 to 09:00 every day
  • 17:00 to 21:00 every day

Happy Harvesting

At this stage, residents are well aware of the ways to save water. But another option, which is supported by the Western Cape government, is the act of rainwater harvesting. Not only does this take the pressure off existing water infrastructure, but it also gives you fresh and clean water directly from Mother Nature herself.

** It is important to note that the current by-law prohibiting the collection of rainwater no longer applies. “The by-law was drafted at a time when nobody thought the City would face a crisis of the magnitude we now face,” Western Cape government officials say.

How Does Rain Harvesting Work?

The collection of rainwater is simple. Typically, rain water is harvested by two means:

  • Roofs via gutters and downpipes
  • Clean paved surfaces

You will need to install a simple filtering system to ensure the water doesn’t contain any leaves or other large objects. A commercially available mesh screen or leaf catcher will work perfectly fine.

Next, you’ll need to ensure the water is diverted to a container like a bin, water tank or even the pool. Should you wish to use the water, simply cook it properly to ensure all contaminants are removed.

For those wishing to take the more high-tech route, you can add a pressure-control pump to your rig. A detailed guide on how to do this is included in the supplied PDF document below.

Rain water harvesting for households

More Ways to Save

You can also download documentation from the Cape Town Government website detailing numerous water saving options, alternative measures, restriction packs and more.

Keep track of Dam Levels

The Western Cape relies on 44 main dams to provide water. On average, these dams supply 1870.4 cubic metres of water. Currently, just over 600 cubic metres of water is available for public consumption. As of 3 November 2017, overall dam levels were at an alarming low of just 38.2%. You can keep an eye on dam levels in the below map.

Sources: Western Cape Government