Cape Town faces a total ban on all water use outdoors from June 1 unless rain replenishes the region's depleted dams. It has thrown a new focus onto South Africa's need to manage and maintain supplies, not only in the west of the republic, but across the country.

Officials warned this week that Level 4 water restrictions are being considered with fewer than 88 days of water remaining and dams at record lows.

The city’s average dam levels dropped to 22.8%, however with the last 10% of the water unusable, the city essentially has only 12.8% of water left.

In a statement the Western Cape Government said: "Poor rainfall, extremely low dam levels, as well as a hot and dry summer season, has increased need to continuously save water. For us to make sure that we have enough water available in our dams for everyone in our province, we all need to do our part to use water sparingly and adhere to the water restrictions which are in place."

This comes just two months after Level 3B restrictions were put in place banning the use of drinking water by hoses or sprinklers with watering of flower beds, lawns, vegetables and other plants, sports fields, parks and other open spaces only by bucket or watering can on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Car washing is banned. Residents bills are reduced by 30 per cent

Now the authority is looking at a ban on all outdoor drinking water use from June 1 under Level 4 restrictions. Residents will also not be allowed to fill or top up swimming pools, while the municipality would only use non-potable water to irrigate public parks and gardens.

Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services, says the City is busy finalising proposals for further intensified water restrictions. She said: "We are looking at implement level four restrictions as of the 1st of June, obviously pending council approval."

Water consumption was 680 million litres last week, which was 80 million litres over the new consumption target of 600 million litres.

The city said it was going to continue its pressure reduction programmes to reduce the flow of water at a time, as well as water losses through leakage in the pipework of the distribution system.

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