Water restrictions regulations cape town

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Cape Town: Water restrictions lifted but permanent regulations remain

Although water restrictions have been lifted in Cape Town, residents and businesses have been reminded that permanent regulations still apply.

Water restrictions regulations cape town

Image via Adobe Stock

There’s good news and some bad news. The good news is that some water restrictions have been lifted in Cape Town thanks to water-wise measures and generous amounts of rainfall but not so fast, the City of Cape Town has warned against letting your guard down. Although many of the stringent water restrictions have been lifted, residents and businesses are reminded that the permanent regulations in the Water By-law still apply, regardless of the restriction level.  



  • Watering only allowed before 09:00 or after 18:00 (to avoid evaporation losses in the heat of the day). This applies to watering with municipal drinking water, and is also recommended for alternative water e.g. borehole and well-point water.
  • Automated sprinkler systems (where permitted) must be able to be correctly positioned and be able to be adjusted to prevent water wastage.
  • Hose Pipes used for watering or washing vehicles, boats and caravans (when permitted) must be fitted with a controlling device such as a spray nozzle or automatic self-closing device.
  • No hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water allowed. Water users, such as abattoirs, food-processing industries, care facilities, animal shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must apply for exemption.
  • Outdoor taps, except those on residential properties, must be secured to prevent unauthorised use.
  • The City recommends that alternative water sources like boreholes and well-point water must also be used sparingly and efficiently.


  • The maximum flow rate of new and replaced showerheads may not exceed 7 litres per minute.
  • The maximum flow rate of any tap installed at a washbasin may not exceed 6 litres per minute.  
  • New or replaced toilet cisterns may not exceed 6 litres in capacity.
  • Handwash basins and showers provided at public facilities must be fitted with demand-type taps.


  • All swimming pools must be covered by a pool cover to avoid evaporation when not in use.
  • Automatic top-up systems using a float valve fed from a municipal drinking water source to supply swimming pools and garden ponds are not allowed.


  • Commercial car wash industries must comply with industry best-practice norms regarding water usage per car washed (e.g. recycling and re-using a minimum of 50% of the water used).


  • Municipal drinking water may not be used to dampen building sand and other building material to prevent it from being blown away.


  • Check your water fittings and pipes regularly for leaks. Residents can learn how to do so here.


The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Alderman Xanthea Limberg said we are all reminded to hang onto our water-wisdom as we adjust to the relative freedoms that come with the dams being full.

“I believe that Capetonians have what it takes to exercise discretion and good judgment in considering relaxation of water-saving efforts in the coming weeks or months, as and when they feel comfortable enough to do so,” said Limberg.

“The onus is on all of us to use water responsibly as we have learnt that we cannot take the availability of this precious resource for granted,” she added.


  • City water costs on average 4 cents per litre in comparison to R10 per litre for shop-bought bottled water.
  • Based on the first 10 500 litres of water used and a 15mm metre connection, the average bill will be R411,99 on the no restriction, water-wise tariff. This is compared with R785,38 under the Level 6B tariff at the peak of the drought.
  • The City’s water tariff, like some other metros, has a usage and a fixed part and it forms the total water tariff that covers the cost of providing water. This includes the maintenance of infrastructure and making sure Cape Town is resilient by adding new sources to its water supply and becoming a water-sensitive city.
  • The cost of providing the service remains largely the same regardless of how much or how little water is used, or how full the dams are.
  • Residents who are registered as indigent do not pay the fixed part of the water tariff and receive a free allocation of water monthly.

Here’s what you need to know about the no-restriction water-wise restriction level  

  • Water restrictions are lifted under this level but permanent regulations as outlined in the Water By-law still apply, regardless of the restriction level, because Cape Town is situated in a water-scarce region.
  • For more information about the no restriction, water-wise restriction level and the permanent regulations that still apply, please visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater or www.capetown.gov.za/waterregulations.