The City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, hosted an event for dozens of car wash businesses where various suppliers demonstrated waterless products. Mayor De Lille also made donations to the car washes to help kick-start water-efficient behaviour.


Cape Town is in the grip of our worst drought in 100 years, where we have seen three winters of below average annual rainfall.


Our dam levels are critically low, at 25,3% but useable water is only approximately 15,3% which is very low for this time of the year – especially considering that a harsh summer has been predicted for 2017/18. We have to build up our reserves for the long, dry summer that we are expecting.


On 1 July 2017, Level 4b water restrictions came into effect where we have set a collective usage target of 500 million litres per day. This can only happen with all residents, government departments, and businesses doing more to ensure that we have all hands on deck to save water while we still have it.


We are now asking all water users to use less than 87 litres of water per person per day in total, irrespective of whether you are at home, work, or elsewhere.


We have called for this direct engagement with the car washes and taxi associations today as these businesses are a critical part of our water-saving efforts


The meeting today is in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan priorities to improve resource efficiency and to enhance the principles of becoming a proactive, customer-centric, and responsive government and especially improving our direct engagements with communities and stakeholders.


Today I am also pleased to help the car washes in this cause and I have donated 100 samples of the various waterless car wash products to the businesses attending the engagement today. I have asked them to embrace these innovations and use them in their business so that they can ensure that they have a business for years to come.


We know that to provide an income for their families, the
need their businesses to operate as successfully and as sustainable as possible.


However, we cannot use drinking water to wash vehicles. Level 4b restrictions ban the use of drinking water for this purpose.


There are no more exemptions for car washes as they have all been revoked as part of Level 4b. Car washes have been advised to make use of waterless chemical or dry steam products which use little to no water as the City has been urging them to do since Level 3b.


We need businesses to be innovative with their water use so that they can still operate effectively.


But if we waste water, we will run out of water faster and there will be no more business. We all need water to survive. Water is life.

My plea to the businesses today was that they must all do more to help us conserve water.


This is why we brought some of the suppliers together with various affordable waterless car wash products on the market so that businesses could learn about the alternative solutions that are available.


We had businesses and associations at the engagement today from across Cape Town, from areas including Mitchells Plain, Delft, Philippi, Dunoon, Langa, Gugulethu, Ysterplaat, Bellville, Athlone and Hanover Park.


We asked the business owners to be our eyes and ears and report those who are wasting water. This is against the law and there are penalties in place. But instead of punishing people, we want to work with everyone to find ways to save water and continue getting on with business.


Car washes are an important part of our economy, providing jobs to many residents. So my plea is it that we work together to make progress possible.

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