Water wastage awareness is crucial if we are to combat the ever growing water crisis confronting our cities.
South Africa is a water stressed country with poorly maintained water management infrastructure, with the Western Cape faring less well than some other provinces.
The Cape is home to about 8% of South Africa's population, produces about 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) and yet the area contains only 3% of the country’s water supply.
Not only does the Western Cape suffer from diminishing rainfall, but climate change will also alter rainfall patterns progressively into the future.
Cyclical weather patterns such as El Nino reduce rainfall in the West, while causing floods in the Eastern half of the country.
Cape Town has already dammed on all large water catchment areas in the peninsula and no further large dams are planned.
Water recycling is not optimised and about 60% of the city's potable water goes down the drain in one form or another.
And to discourage excessive water usage, the municipality has imposed progressive higher water tariffs as water usage increases.
The city has also targeted various forms of water savings including the problem of water wastage and leakage.
It is small wonder then that the City of Cape Town has made it illegal for property owners not to attend to repairing water leaks.
Do a water usage audit
To reduce the costs of water the municipality encourage a water usage audit for each household to establish where water is being used and how it can be saved. An example is changing bathing habits such as: taking shorter showers; fitting low flow outlets and tap aerators; choosing water saving appliances etc.
In addition households should monitor monthly water usage by taking regular readings of their water meters and comparing water billing information over time.
A generous allocation per average household is approximately 300 kilolitres per year or 75 kilolitres quarterly. Usage above this may indicate water wastage
Increased consumption not due to usage such as garden irrigation, construction or the swimming pool, may indicate a water leak is present.
How big a problem are water leaks?
In some areas with poor infrastructure such as Langa, Khayalitsha, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu, pressure reduction in off-peak periods has been used to combat water leaks on a macro-scale.
To give you some idea of how big the problem actually is, resultant water savings were immediate amounting to almost 40% of the original supply!
But water leaks are not confined to areas with poor infrastructural integrity. Leaks play a huge role in water wastage in all residential areas of Cape Town.
It is estimated that many houses in older suburbs have water leaks because of a deterioration due to age, while new housing areas are prone to leaks from 'cutting corners' with lower quality materials, inferior workmanship and unauthorised construction and development.
Many households have been paying high water bills thinking that their water usage is normal.
How much will your leak cost you?
To give you an idea of how much water will be wasted and how much it could cost you, with even small leaks, look at the following table:
| Leak Hole diameter
|| At 7 Bar pressure
|| Stepped Tariff$
|Size in mm
|| Litres wasted per month
|| will cost you
|| 50 000 litres
|| 205 000 litres
|| 460 000 litres
|| 820 000 litres
|| 1 280 000 litres
$ Stepped Cape Town Water Tariff
Check for Water Leaks
To check if you have a leak on your property follow these steps:
If you suspect a leak on your property be sure to Call in Leak Detection Services for a free quote to detect, pinpoint and repair the leak immediately.
The City of Cape Town offers a partial water leak rebate for losses due to underground leaks where the repairs are confirmed by a registered plumber.