In light of the Koppie Reservoir, which was recently at 0,4 metres – with a 15 000 litre inflow as opposed to a 25 000 litre outflow per hour – the situation in our town is dire, to say the least. The water supply in Mark, Christina de Wit, Klip, De Beer and Nuwe Street would have been depleted within two hours had everyone not cut down their water usage immediately.
The catastrophe is the result of interlinked issues.
Prince Albert’s main water source is a stream running from the Swartberg Mountains with adjacent boreholes (the village has no dam for water supply). A destructive fire in January 2016 resulted in the failure of our water catchment area to act as a sponge for absorbing rain water. To add to this, the drought that has been plaguing the Western Cape over the past three years has only exacerbated the problem by lowering the water table, resulting in the water catchment area yielding only two thirds of what it usually does during the warm summer months.
An influx of tourists during the December/January period puts serious strain on our water supply. So much so that the reservoir can actually run dry.
Our town has, to date, surpassed our available water use twice over. Water shedding between 11 PM to 6 AM is currently in place and water pressure has been reduced during the day. Executive Mayor Goliath Lottering requests that residents and visitors alike stick to the suggested water ration of 90 litres per person per day.
We pride ourselves on sustainable tourism and ask that you join us in using water sparingly and responsibly. Consider the following to ensure that our beautiful village makes it through the drought:
- Shower, don’t bath.
- Do not shower for longer than two minutes.
- Keep a bucket in the shower to collect grey water.
- Wash dishes in a plastic container and use the grey water for gardening.
- Flush toilets only when necessary.
- Only wash full loads in washing machines.
- Report any person who is not complying with water restrictions immediately. Remember that fines and charges are applicable to anyone who is found guilty of wasting drinking water.
Businesses, guest houses and restaurants could consider taking the following measures:
- Discuss the water crisis openly with your guests and ask that they refrain from engaging in water wasting activities, such as using too many towels (which will need to be washed afterwards).
- Put up signs in bathrooms reminding guests to use water sparingly.
- Consider sending your towels and linen to Karoo Wassery (they have strong water supply and use filters on their machines).
- Check your water meter daily to make sure you are sticking to water rations.
- Remind your guests that Prince Albert supports sustainable tourism.
Guests can help us save water by doing the following:
- Familiarise yourself with water restrictions and saving tips (feel free to ask your host).
- Use linen and towels sparingly. Inform your host of any unused towels.
- Try to keep self-catering kitchens clean. Ironically, washing a big load will take more water than cleaning as you go.
Prince Albert Tourism thanks those who have so far diligently done their bit to save water and promote sustainable tourism, and requests that everyone who has not yet done so gets on board and passes the message on to their friends, colleagues and family. Let’s get through this together!