As Day Zero was pushed back four days this week, Hout Bay residents have continued stockpiling bottled water.
Bare shelves have become a common sight in the past few weeks as residents descend on stores to prepare for the possibility of the taps being turned off.
There was some good news on Tuesday January 30, however, when it was announced that Day Zero was pushed back to April 16, four days later than had been anticipated.
This has been achieved because Capetonians managed to cut consumption to an average of 580 million litres a day for the past week, and to 540 million litres a day for the past few days.
It was also announced that the City of Cape Town had secured an additional 67 million litres a day for a period of approximately 60 days, starting in early February.
It is apparent, however, that Hout Bay residents are leaving nothing to chance as they swarm local retailers to stock up on bottled water.
But according to Hout Bay Superspar owner Simon van Nimwege, who confirmed the rush for bottled water, there was no need to fear the bottled variety running out.
“People are buying in bulk, yes. Last Saturday we made an extra R30 000 through water sales alone. But what we are seeing is panic buying,” he said.
“We have been assured we won’t run out of this water, because it is coming from other parts of the country. The problem is for the companies distributing the water. Trucks are delivering 700 cases of water, and there are four 5l bottles in each case. These companies don’t always have the extra trucks to deliver the water when the stores are sold out. So it’s
a big logistical issue for them.”
Mr Van Nimwegen said as fast as the water came in, it was being sold.
Chan Pillay, head of Long Life for Woolworths Food, said the demand for bottled water had increased dramatically.
“We are actively working with our suppliers to ensure we continue to have stock of our bottled spring water available in-store and on-
“We have imposed a limited of 20 units of 5l bottles per customer per day. This is to ensure fair availability to all our customers.”
Despite the Day Zero rescheduling, deputy mayor Ian Neilson said while there were many “dedicated water ambassadors” whose efforts to help us to avoid Day Zero were “remarkable”, those who were not rolling up their sleeves should join their neighbours in the fight.
“We need all water users to join the efforts of Team Cape Town. Level 6b water restrictions will set the daily water usage of 50 litres per person per day,” he said.
These came into effect yesterday, Thursday February 1.
“This is in an effort to drive water usage down further as it is the only way that we can avoid Day Zero,” Mr Neilson said.
“Increasing the cost of water should help to change behaviour and to drive down usage further, especially among the high users. All income from the proposed tariff would go towards
funding essential water services. The City does not
make a profit on water revenue.”
Level 6B water restrictions include:
* A daily limit of 50 litres or less a person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere.
* Outdoor use of boreholes is strongly discouraged. Usage for irrigation purposes will be limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am and after 6pm.
* Borehole or well-point water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records and have these available for inspection.
* Permission from the National Department of Water and Sanitation is required to sell or buy borehole or well-point water.