The City of Cape Town has called on all residents to familiarise themselves with level three water restrictions so as not to fall foul of the law.

The city council approved the implementation of level three water restrictions on October 26, the city said in a statement on Sunday.

Restrictions would come into effect on November 1. Residents should ensure that their water consumption over the coming summer months remained consistent with their winter consumption, as this would ensure that dams were not drawn to dangerous levels.

Restrictions applicable to all customers are watering/irrigation (with drinking water from municipal supply) of gardens, lawns, flower beds and other plants, vegetable gardens, sports fields, parks, and other open spaces is allowed only if using a bucket or watering can. No use of hosepipes or automatic sprinkler systems is allowed. Watering times are not restricted but residents are urged to limit their watering to the mornings and evenings

Golf courses, sports facilities, parks, schools, learning institutions, nurseries, customers involved in agricultural activities, users with historical gardens, and customers with special requirements can apply to the director of the city’s water and sanitation department for exemption. Users with level two exemptions need to reapply for exemptions on level three.

No watering/irrigation is allowed within 24 hours of rainfall providing adequate saturation (facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water, or well points are not exempt).

All properties where alternative, non-potable water resources are used, such as rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse, treated effluent water, spring water, well points, and boreholes, must display the appropriate signage to this effect clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. All well points and boreholes must be registered with the city and used efficiently to avoid wastage and evaporation.

No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with drinking water is allowed, except for health purposes. Users, such as abattoirs, food processing industries, industries using water to prepare for painting or similar treatments, care facilities, animal shelters, and other industries or facilities with special needs can apply to the director of the city’s water and sanitation department for exemption.

Ornamental water fountains/water features can be operated only by recycling the water or if using non-potable water.

Restrictions applicable to residential customers are washing (using potable water) of vehicles and boats is only allowed if using a bucket. Customers are strongly advised to install water efficient parts, fittings, and technologies to minimise water use at all taps, showerheads, and other plumbing components.

Manual topping up of swimming pools is allowed only if the pool is fitted with a pool cover. No automatic top-up systems are allowed. Using portable play pools is prohibited.

Restrictions applicable to non-residential customers are commercial car wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms regarding water usage per car washed. Informal car washes must use only buckets and not hosepipes.

The use of fitted pool covers for public swimming pools is strongly encouraged where practically possible. No automatic top-up systems for swimming pools are allowed. Spray parks must be strictly managed to minimise water wastage.

Golf courses, sports facilities, parks, schools, and learning institutions are not allowed to establish any new landscaping or sports fields, except if irrigated only with non-potable water. For users supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service intermediaries or water service providers), the contract conditions apply.

Residents who would like to apply for special exemption should email a completed special exemption application form to the Director: Water and Sanitation Department at

Well points and boreholes should be registered at After registration residents will receive the necessary sign free of charge.

Appropriate signage (printed A4 landscape) is also required for irrigation via grey water reuse, spring water or rainwater harvesting.

Residents were advised that changes to the bulk water distribution system could intermittently impact on clarity or taste within some areas of the northern and central suburbs of the city. These changes were required to conserve water in the Theewaterskloof Dam. Water pressure would be reduced to limit water leaks from underground pipes and faulty plumbing fittings, and taps may flow more slowly.

“Resultant flow changes in some of the water pipelines may temporarily cause cloudiness or a slight discolouration in the water. Residents with sensitive palates may also notice a slight change in the taste of their water, as it will now be coming from a mix of sources.”

Residents in several parts of the city may also experienced an earthy taste and odour to their drinking water caused by low levels of Geosmin in dam waters. This was a naturally occurring compound and was neither toxic nor harmful to health. Water quality was monitored continuously and all water supplied would be entirely safe for human consumption.

“Residents and visitors are assured that the city is working proactively to manage available water resources and reduce the effects of Geosmin in the source waters, concentrations of which are anticipated to increase with lower dam levels and hot, windy conditions.”

Implementation of a corresponding level three tariff schedule would be introduced from December 1 to allow residents time to adjust to the new restrictions. Residents could view this new schedule and information on all water restrictions on