The Western Cape region is still battling the effects of drought and water shortages. Households in the region consume most of the water, followed by retail, offices and flats. This means that single households use a big portion of the water that the city is trying to preserve. As the largest users, reducing their consumption will have the biggest impact on water levels.

The city is adopting rain water harvesting methods to decrease the number of litres that each household consumes and also educate residents on ways to become water conscience. Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off. Rainwater can be collected from rivers or roofs and, in many places, the water collected is redirected to wells, shafts or boreholes, a reservoir with percolation, or collected from dew or fog with nets or other tools.

The city of Cape Town says that this method will be used to target single residential homes and will yield the biggest results.  Rain water is easily processed to provide water for domestic purposes. Many households already have water tanks or swimming pools to store rain water. Domestic installation of storage units is not excessive and would cost R6 330 per household.

Here are some tips on rain water harvesting:

  • Water can be harvested from roofs, gutters and pavements.
  • If using a swimming pool to harvest rain water, keep the pool clean and chlorinated.
  • Slug dose the pool with chlorine after each rainfall.
  • Reduce the pool water chlorine to 1 ppm (same ph as municipal water) before transferring it to the clean water tank. This can be done by removing the pool cover which will enable the sun to reduce the chlorine.
  • If rain water is stored in a tank, the tank must be sufficiently dark.
  • If rain water goes directly from the roof to a tank, the water must be sterilised using an ultra-violet light when pumped into the house water reticulation.
  • Water supplied to the house must have a ph of 8 to protect the copper pipes.
  • The ph can be raised from 7 to 8 by adding 2 cups of bicarbonate of soda per 1000 litres of water. -Press Release

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