Level 5B Water Restrictions & What You Can Do With 87L

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Level 5B Water Restrictions & What You Can Do With 87L

Everything you need to know about the current water crisis 

According to the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan, Cape Town’s drought crisis is officially at stage one with only 27.4% of usable water available to the public. Water disruptions are expected, and the city is advising that all Capetonians store five litres of water per person in case their area’s supply is interrupted.

Our new water consumption target is only 500 million litres per day, across the entire Cape Town area. This means we all need to be even more conservative with our water usage. The City of Cape Town implemented level 5B restrictions in September. We’ve had a chance to get used to the new guidelines, but there is still a degree of confusion. Here is our explanation of level 5B water restrictions, and what they mean for every resident of this city.


What can, and what can’t you do now that level 5B restrictions have been implemented? Firstly, municipal water can no longer be used for outside and non-essential purposes. But let’s qualify what you can’t do with municipal water:

  • Washing of motor vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, boats, bikes, etc.)
  • Watering down of paved surfaces
  • Irrigation systems
  • Filling up of swimming pools (temporary or permanent)
  • Having water features

The aim here is simple; keep your personal daily water use below 87 litres or the city will run out of municipal water.


What does 87 litres mean? The City has explained that it covers

  • a two minute shower (with a low-flow shower head)
  • two flushes of a toilet
  • one session of dish-washing, clothes washing and face washing
  • two teeth cleanings
  • one cooked meal
  • two litres of drinking water
  • and one bowl of water for your pet.

Keeping your water usage as low as possible must be priority one for residents of the Cape Town area.


If you have a borehole or a well-point water supply system, please note that they need to be signposted.

It is prohibited to water/irrigate your garden with borehole water within seven days of rainfall.

The City have announced that residents will boreholes are only allowed water/irrigate their gardens on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm for a maximum of one hour.

Please remember that boreholes tap into a limited water supply and must still be used with water conservation in mind.


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