Drakenstein outlines next steps in drought management plan
2 February 2018
While Drakenstein Municipality continues to pull out all the stops to avoid a Day Zero situation, the
Municipality – the largest local municipality in the Western Cape outside the City of Cape Town - is
finalising the finer details of a comprehensive water distribution and disaster management plan for Day
Zero should such a situation materialise.
Councillor Conrad Poole, Executive Mayor of Drakenstein, explains: “Our drought management plan rests
on four pillars: Managing existing water sources; finding and establishing new water sources;
communication with all stakeholders and disaster management in case of a Day Zero situation. Thanks
to the fact that we have proper plans in place, I can confirm that Drakenstein is ready to manage the
effects of the worst drought to hit the Western Cape in the past 100 years.”
The Drakenstein area (Paarl, Wellington, Gouda, Hermon, Saron and Simondium) currently consumes
approximately 30Ml of water per day. Paarl and Wellington draw most of their water from the
Wemmershoek Dam, which Drakenstein Municipality shares with the City of Cape Town (Drakenstein uses
7% and Cape Town 93%). Gouda and Hermon draw mainly from the Voëlvlei Dam and Saron from springs
in the area.
Managing existing water sources
Drakenstein Municipality’s water losses of approximately 9% are rated one of the lowest in South Africa.
Out of the country’s eight metros and 19 secondary cities, Drakenstein at the end of June 2017 officially
achieved the second best position in terms of water losses.
Since July 2017, Drakenstein Municipality introduced the following initiatives:
- A water pressure management system;
- Installed water restrictors at excessive users’ residences and buildings;
- All new developments are obligated to include rainwater-harvesting and greywater systems in
their development and building plans; and
- Adopted punitive tariffs to prevent water wastage. This resulted in a record water saving of 34%
when November 2017 is compared to November 2016.
In addition, the Drakenstein Municipal Council on Wednesday (31 January 2018) adopted Level 6B water
restrictions and raised its water tariffs - effective from 16 February 2018. The main implication is that each
person will only be allowed to use 50 litres of water per day.
Finding and establishing new water sources
To augment existing water sources and establish new sources, Drakenstein Municipality has introduced
initiatives such as:
- Facilitating and assisting large businesses and developments in moving off the municipal water
grid, such as the Val de Vie Residential Estate in Paarl which saves the Municipality approximately
680 kilolitres of water per day;
- Providing treated effluent water at a fee of R3.99 per kilolitre for construction and industrial
- Investigating the building of new dams for additional storage space for winter water; and
- A R36 million borehole programme – the Municipality has drilled 27 municipal boreholes to date,
currently achieving a yield of 5.5 mega litres of water per day.
Save, preserve, otherwise we WILL run out”
Drakenstein Municipality regularly communicates water-saving messages to all its stakeholders through
channels and platforms such as: a monthly Mayoral Business & Stakeholder Initiative; northern and
southern regional community forums; continuous communication with Drakenstein’s business sector,
hospitals, schools and other stakeholders; municipal newsletters and website; and the local media.
‘Confident that Drakenstein’s Day Zero will arrive later’
As 90% of Drakenstein’s water comes from the Wemmershoek Dam, which Drakenstein Municipality
shares with the City of Cape Town, it is important for the Municipality to follow the City’s Day Zero timeline
closely. (Day Zero means the pipes run dry and no water from existing surface water sources is available.)
“We’re confident that Drakenstein’s Day Zero, should it arrive, will be later than the City of Cape Town’s
estimated date - thanks to the measures we’ve already put in place,” says Executive Mayor Poole.
Should Drakenstein run out of existing surface water, it will be in a position to immediately switch over to
groundwater sources. Through its borehole programme it has secured 5.5 mega litres of water per day,
which put the Municipality in a position to provide its residents with 25 litres (minimum amount declared
by World Health Organization) of water per person per day.
“We’re pulling out all the stops to avoid a Day Zero situation; however, should it materialise we will, 30
days before the actual estimated date, alert residents, businesses, schools, hospitals, tourism
establishments, prisons and other institutions; reduce water pressure further; and roll out a
comprehensive Day Zero plan,” says Executive Mayor Poole.
As part of this plan, water distribution points – distributing 25 litres of water per person per day - will be
set up throughout the Drakenstein municipal area. The details of the actual locations of the water
distribution points, opening times and other logistical information will be released when and if required
– via local media reports, notices, municipal newsletters, website, SMSs, pamphlets and community
A 24/7 disaster management joint operations centre will be operating from the Drakenstein Fire
Department in Paarl, involving the Cape Winelands District Municipality’s services, the South African
Police Service, as well as the security, health, education, agricultural and business sectors of Drakenstein.
“The message is simple: We all need to keep on saving and preserving water, otherwise we WILL run out.
(‘Bespaar, bewaar, anders is dit klaar’). If Drakenstein runs out of surface water, we’ll switch over to
groundwater sources. We’ll do the best we can to keep on providing water through the current water
distribution network. This will cut out logistical challenges, as well as stop pipes from being damaged once
the water is switched on again, or being contaminated by groundwater entering the network through
damaged pipes,” concludes Executive Mayor Poole.
For more information, visit www.drakenstein.gov.za/savewater.
Communication and Marketing, Drakenstein Municipality
For more information and media enquiries, contact: Riana Geldenhuys, Manager: Communication and
Marketing, Drakenstein Municipality, on 021 807 6390, 082 460 5554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.