The Western Cape has been facing its worst drought in years, with water restrictions being imposed and experts estimating that the city has only enough water to last until the end of May or early June.

For commercial property owners in Cape Town, saving water is no longer a financial benefit – it has become a matter of survival. Here are some ways to reduce your consumption and help beat the drought.

How much water are we allowed to use?

As of February, the City of Cape Town is applying its highest level of water restrictions (level 3b).

  • These rules have the biggest impact on garden and lawn irrigation, which has to be done using a bucket or watering can until further notice
  • The use of sprinkler systems and automated irrigation is also not allowed until the water crisis ends
  • It is also against the bylaws to irrigate your building’s garden and lawns the day after heavy rains – this is a crucial time when dam levels need to rise.

Despite strict water restrictions, many Capetonian residents and businesses are still using water wastefully. This is not only bad for the city’s water supply but will also carry heavy penalty costs due to the higher water tariffs during the drought.

How to save water and reduce monthly costs

Since saving water has now become a necessity, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce your building’s consumption without having to redesign the entire plumbing system.

A water conservation strategy needs to be employed in order to reduce the amount of water used in any commercial building. Here are some simple ways to become water efficient and cut down on water usage.

  • Check your aerators – these are components inside every tap that create a firm flow of water while keeping usage down and saving you money
  • Install no-drip and no-waste taps and bathroom accessories – including sensor taps that eliminate wasted water from taps that are left running by accident
  • Choose your plants wisely – indigenous plants use less water and require less maintenance than foreign varieties. If you have a gardening service that maintains your building, ask them to plant low-water plants, grasses and flowers from now on.
  • Water recycling measures should be determined – such as the use of gray water and a water catchment system for all non-potable water usage.

The current water crisis will pass – eventually, but the effect it is having on the Western Cape won’t be forgotten soon. To ensure a sustainable water future and avoid escalating costs, all commercial property owners need to take responsible and appropriate measures to reduce their water consumption.