Despite severe drought, Western Cape prepares for bumper tourism season
Thousands of visitors have already started flocking to Cape Town and the Western Cape for their annual end-of-year holidays…despite the region being in the grip of one of the severest droughts in memory.
But visitors need not worry that the city of the province will run out of water while they are holidaying here. While they will be required to abide by the strict water restrictions in force, the city and the Western Cape government have made precautionary arrangements to meet the increased demand for water.
Cape Town currently enforced Level 5 water restrictions – this will change to Level 6 on 1 January 2018. Level 5 restrictions entail a ban on all use of municipal drinking-quality water for outside and non-essential purposes. Level 5 restrictions:
- Use no more than 87 litres of municipal drinking water per person per day whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.
- Individual domestic properties using more than 20kl of water per month will be fined.
- No hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water.
- No irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water allowed.
- No washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water allowed. They must be washed with non-drinking water or cleaned with waterless products or dry-steam cleaning processes.
- Private swimming pools may not be topped up or filled with municipal drinking water.
- Use of portable play pools prohibited.
- Water features may not use municipal drinking water.
According to a statement issued by Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, both the city and the province are open for tourism and ready for a bumper peak season, which it says, promises to be the best yet.
The Western Cape and Cape Town Metro governments have already implemented a range of water restrictions in the province to limit water usage and ensure a steady supply with a view to the upcoming high tourist season, when thousands of visitors will descend on the area. That will inevitably push up water consumption.
By far the majority of Capetonians are already cooperating to reduce water consumption, so dirty, unwashed cars have become something of a waterwise status symbol around here.
Hotels and other tourism establishments in the province are all implementing water-saving measures, and a variety of awareness campaigns and water-saving tips can be found in lobbies and rooms in hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses across the province and the Mother City.
Some hotels have their own private water supplies, used for swimming pools and spas, thus removing pressure from the provincial water grid.
With tourism being a leading source of investment in the province, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town have gone out of their way to ensure that the sector is not harmed by the drought, and tourists have been assured that they need not worry about their upcoming holidays in the region.
But, an appeal has been made to all visitors to help curb water usage and save as much as possible.
In its statement, Wesgro said:
“Cape Town and the Western Cape is open for tourism and is ready for a bumper peak season, which promises to be the best yet. International arrivals have grown by an unprecedented 27% year-on-year for the first half of 2017. Last year, the international terminal processed just under 2 million passengers, and in 2017, we anticipate this growing to 2.5 million.
“Wesgro commends our stakeholders, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial government, for the steps they have taken to reduce water consumption and ensure supplies last through the tourist season.
“We therefore encourage tourists from the rest of South Africa and abroad to visit our beautiful city and province this year, and be water wise when doing so.
“In this regard, we wish to thank all of our partners in the tourism sector that have taken proactive steps to reduce their water demand during this critical time.
“Interested visitors can also make use of the City of Cape Town’s online water-usage calculator, to see how they can get their water usage below 87 litres per person per day.
“The Western Cape has many diverse offerings from the Cape Winelands to the Cape Karoo. To find out about what more you can do during this summer season, visit our Discover Cape Town and the Western Cape website.”
Here are some tips for how visitors to the city and province can help save water this summer, provided by the City of Cape Town and Wesgro.