Do grave residents use 65% of Cape Town’s water, with half going …

August 22, 2017 - Essential Water

A male collects celebration H2O from taps that are fed by a open in Newlands in May 2017 in Cape Town. Photo: AFP/Rodger Bosch

A male collects celebration H2O from taps that are fed by a open in Newlands in May 2017 in Cape Town. Photo: AFP/Rodger Bosch

Cape Town’s soppy winter is most drier than common and city officials are pleading with residents to assistance build adult a city’s H2O reserves.

Reporting on a apocalyptic state of affairs, news organization GroundUp discussed a series of a city’s projects to preserve water.

The article highlighted that “65% of [city] H2O goes to grave residential customers. Half of that is used for non-essential functions – stuffing pools, watering gardens, soaking cars and so forth.”

With dams provision a city now usually 31.1% full (21.1% of this being usable), are these reported expenditure sum accurate? We set out to check.

Stats came from mayoral cabinet member

To get a source of a statement, Africa Check spoke to a article’s author, Lilly Wimberly. Wimberly told us a information was supposing by councillor Xanthea Limberg’s office.

Limberg is a city’s mayoral cabinet member for spontaneous settlements, H2O and rubbish services, and energy. She gave Africa Check a relapse of a city’s H2O expenditure patterns by difficulty for a financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17.


“65% of [city] H2O goes to grave residential customers”

At final count, a city was regulating 610 million litres of H2O per day.

The city’s H2O expenditure information shows that residential units (69.9%) used a infancy of granted water. The bulk of this residential expenditure was in grave settlements (64.5%), while spontaneous settlements accounted for 3.6% of a consumption.

But how is this H2O use determined? Limberg explained to Africa Check that “the city has during slightest one scale [for] all grave grown stands and we have accurate information on a land use and land zoning of any mount therefore we are means to establish expenditure levels per land use category”.

Africa Check spoke to Prof Heinz Jacobs, a executive during Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering. He forked us to a study he co-authored on a H2O saving achieved following H2O restrictions a City of Cape Town implemented in 2004.

The investigate compared particular H2O scale readings from a City of Cape Town’s book system. Readings before H2O restrictions (1 Oct 2003 to 1 Apr 2004) and during H2O restrictions (1 Oct 2004 to 1 Apr 2005) were collected.

The researchers grouped their commentary into 4 land use categories, namely residential (single station dwellings), industrial, blurb and institutional, “other” (including organization housing, flats and farmland) and “unknown”.

The investigate found that H2O use in a residential difficulty accounted for 55.1% of sum H2O use during a 2003/2004 duration and 54.2% of sum H2O use during a 2004/2005 period. (Note: Water use fell by approximately 14% following a restrictions.)

Because of this, Jacobs records that a 65% figure a City of Cape Town provides is “plausible since we did not embody flats in a representation set… [the city] lists “flats and complexes” as 9.2% and 9.5% of a total, so give or take a few teenager errors we will trust a 65% yet arguing about it”.


“Half of [residential water] is used for non-essential purposes”

What accurately does a city cruise as non-essential H2O use?  

“We courtesy outside H2O use as non-essential and we are permitting essential H2O use usually for bathing, eating and drinking,” Limberg told Africa Check. “The quantities of H2O compulsory for outside functions are on a whole most larger than quantities required for indoor functions.”

We asked how a city totalled a use of H2O within a residential setting. Limberg remarkable that a city had conducted “various engineering investigate analyses and site studies to establish standard patterns of domicile H2O expenditure in sequence to be means to collect such a breakdown”.

“We also make use of other inhabitant and general investigate to get guideline figures,” Limberg added.

Africa Check asked for entrance to a investigate mentioned, yet a city hasn’t granted it yet.

Jacobs told Africa Check that, on average, an particular will use between 100 litres to 250 litres of H2O per day. “Most people will use 120 litres [per day] as a picturesque low expenditure for a residence connection,” he said.

With 69.9% of granted H2O going to grave and spontaneous residential units – or about 426.4 million litres per day – this would meant that a 4,004,793 people vital in a Cape Town civil municipality consume, on average, 106.5 litres per chairman per day.

“These numbers are really low, and one could disagree that there is really small room for ‘non-essential use’ in these stream numbers,” Jacobs told Africa Check.

Dr Kirsty Carden, a urban H2O government thesis leader during a University of Cape Town’s Future Water Institute agreed that while a normal is arguably low, a accurate “percentage of H2O used for outside functions is open to interpretation. . . [it] is mostly quoted as being on normal (per year), half of a sum residential demand”.

“Bear in mind yet that there is probably no outside direct in winter in Cape Town, when it is raining and garden irrigation is minimized and swimming pools do not need commanding up. Similarly, during H2O restrictions – as in a stream conditions – it can be insincere that all beverage H2O expenditure is for indoor purposes.”

In a prior fact-check, we highlighted that few studies have been conducted in South Africa to magnitude H2O end-use as they are costly to run. One study, though, found that 32 respondents surveyed around a internet – who were “likely to be a aloft income users” – estimated regulating 37.6% of their sum H2O expenditure on watering their gardens.


Additional reading:

Is ‘about 40%’ of Johannesburg’s H2O used to direct gardens?

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