agribusiness ENSight | 12 December 2018

Easing of water restrictions in the Western Cape

by Stephen Levetan and James Brand

On 3 December 2018, the Department of Water and Sanitation published a notice amending the water curtailment restrictions in the Breede-Gouritz and Berg-Olifants Water Management Areas, which have been in operation since December 2017 (in respect of surface water) and January 2018 (in respect of ground water). The amendments are as follows:

  • decrease in the restrictions from 45% to 10% in respect of all domestic and industrial water use; and 
  • decrease in restrictions from 60% to 10% in respect of all agricultural water use.

The new restrictions of 10% apply from 3 December 2018, and are measured against lawful water allocations taken from surface and ground water resources in the Western Cape Water Supply System, and are no longer based on five-year water use averages for the period 2010/11-2014/15.

Water abstractions from the system must continue to be measured by a validly installed device as specified in the January 2018 regulations, however, weekly reporting appears to have been relaxed as was required in the January 2018 regulations.

The Notice records the pledge by the City of Cape Town to achieve restrictions of 30% and other users on the water supply system are encouraged to emulate this level of saving.

Having regard to the severity of the restrictions previously imposed, the new levels are a welcome relief for all users, domestic, industrial or agricultural. However, we encourage readers to continue to be water-wise so as to ensure the long-term sustainability of the water supply system and to ensure proper metering of both surface and ground water use as well as reporting where this is required.


Stephen Levetan

natural resources and environment | director
cell: +27 82 780 1555

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James Brand

natural resources and environment | senior associate
cell: +27 79 877 7778

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