Southern Cape Drought now Critical


Aloes along the Garden Route, Southern Cape

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) –┬ápartnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
17 December 2009

The drought in the Southern Cape towns of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Mossel Bay and George has led the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to sanction an increase in the water tariff as a measure to curb usage.

These towns were declared Disaster Areas in November this year, and the continued drought, which is expected to continue until April 2010, has seen the lowest recorded rainfall in the last 132 years.

Current restrictions include the use of grey water only for garden irrigation. The filling of swimming pools with potable water is prohibited, as is the irrigation of sports fields, washing of vehicles and cleaning of hardened surfaces. Contravention is subject to fines or imprisonment.

The new price increase will see the doubling of the cost in some areas, e.g. George for usage above 15 kilolitres per month per household. The price in George is set to increase to R16.80 a kilolitre for usage between 15 and 30 kl per month; usage up to 50 kl will cost R30.30; peaking at R60 per kl for usage above 50 kl per month.

Residents are encouraged to make use of rainwater harvesting and grey water systems.

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