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Waterwise Tourism

The current situation is:

  • Cape Town and surrounding towns like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek currently have water rationing which limits all users to a maximum of 50 litres of water per person per day.  Even when rain does fall, it's likely that restrictions remain in place for a long time to come.
  • There are regions in the Western Cape which have no or moderate water restrictions in place.  (See map towards the bottom of this page.)  In these areas, life goes on as before and your showering time is not limited to two minutes and you may still even be able to have a bath!
  • It's now predicted that Day Zero - the day most of Cape Town's taps are turned off and stricter water rationing starts - won't happen in 2018.  There have been good winter rains. Writing on News24, respected journalist Melanie Gosling wrote, "Trawling through statements, opinions and conversations with people from different sectors, it appears that the decision was political, designed to limit the negative impact on tourism and investment in the city.  It certainly was not based on the fact that the water crisis is over."
  • If Day Zero does happen, maybe in 2019, certain areas like the CBDs and poorer areas will continue to be supplied with water but, for the rest of metropolitan Cape Town, the taps will be dry and residents will have to queue at water points for a daily allocation of 25 litres per person. The current restrictions aim to avoid that Day Zero ever happens.
  • Many businesses have and are making alternative arrangements to cater for the needs of customers and guests so they do not rely on public water sources. In these cases, public water restrictions do not apply... but being water wise will be encouraged.  These could include rainwater harvesting, wells and boreholes, desalination plants and the re-use of grey water.

Day Zero is not just one day -- no-one knows how long "Day Zero" will last for.  It could be weeks and it could be months.  For most people, it's going to mean no showers and no waterborne sewerage, unless greywater is used.  The SA Weather Service says that the dams will take three to four years to recover with normal rains, which means that some level of water restrictions could be around for quite some time.

Travellers from upcountry and overseas will be looking for accommodation establishments where some level of normality can still be expected.  And Capetonians who can afford weekend getaways will be looking for places to escape to for a good wash and a flushing toilet!  This list has just been started and we hope it will grow rapidly.

Day Zero ReadyBusinesses on CapeInfo that are Day Zero Ready are identified with this banner. In most cases, guests won't be subject to Municipal water restrictions but, even if there is abundant water, you will be asked to use it wisely.  These businesses will provide running taps and showers and flushing toilets even if Day Zero does happen.

Businesses which are listed on CapeInfo and wish to use the Day Zero Ready banner on their listing and appear on the Day Zero Ready map, need to edit their listing and select the Day Zero Ready option.

Adding markers to the map ...

Status of Water Restrictions in the Western Cape

There are regions with no water restrictions or only moderate water restrictions.

Map supplied by Wesgro, as at 9 February 2018.  

Water restrictions in the Western Cape