Save like a local: how visitors can help during Cape Town's drought

Updated 1 October 2018

Cape Town is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history. The city is open for business and welcoming visitors, and this year’s winter rains brought much-needed relief, but the region is still water-stressed. We need everyone to help by being water-wise when visiting Cape Town.



We need your help

From 1 October 2018, level 5 water restrictions are in effect. We need you to save like a local, and keep your usage to under 70 litres per day. You can still have a fantastic holiday without wasting resources, and we ask that you take special care when you visit. We love Cape Town, and we want it to remain a wonderful destination for future generations. If we all work to conserve our precious resources, we can make a big difference!


10 tips to save like a local

  1. Choose to stay in accommodation that has water-saving and contingency plans in place. Make sure you call and ask before booking, so you know exactly what to expect.
  2. Re-use your towels instead of asking for a new one daily.
  3. Try to flush the toilet as little as possible. Each flush uses between 6 and 14 litres, depending on the kind of toilet.
  4. Use a cup to rinse your mouth when you brush your teeth rather than letting the taps run.
  5. Limit your showers to under 90 seconds, and avoid bathing.
  6. Report leaking taps and toilets as soon as you notice them.
  7. Avoid washing clothes until you have a full load’s worth of laundry, or make use of water-wise laundry services such as Green Planet Laundry.
  8. Take a dip in the ocean and tidal pools instead of swimming pools, and maybe even spare yourself a shower.
  9. If possible, use a dishwasher to clean dishes. Just make sure you only run it when it is full.
  10. Use this nifty calculator to make sure you’re helping to save water.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current water restriction and how will this affect my trip to Cape Town?

Level 6b restrictions were in effect from 1 February  to 1 October 2018. They have now been reduced to level 5, which means that daily use is limited 70 litres per person. Business have cut their water usage and have put measures in place ( such as placing hand sanitisers in bathrooms, using salt water to fill pools, providing bottled water, and getting water from alternate sources such as boreholes and rain water).

This will affect your holiday in that you are being asked to use as little water as possible, but you will still be able to do everything you need to enjoy a holiday in Cape Town.

If I visit Cape Town will there be water?

There is adequate water for your daily needs such as washing, drinking, using the toilet, and daily hygiene.

Is it irresponsible to come to Cape Town during the drought?

During peak season (November to January) international tourists only add 1% to the population of the Western Cape. This number drops from April to September. If you follow the daily usage guideline, your impact would be negligible.

The tourism sector supports approximately 300,000 much-needed jobs across the Western Cape. It is vital to preserve these jobs.

Will I have access to drinking water?


Will I be able to bath, shower or use a swimming pool?

Currently, you will be able to shower and maintain daily hygiene, although showers must be kept under 90 seconds. The use of baths is entirely discouraged. Some swimming pools at hotels have been converted to salt (ocean) water or filled with rain water.

The majority of hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions have put in place measures to ensure their water usage is reduced, and many have plans for alternative supplies.

Will restaurants and bars still be in operation?

Yes. Establishments have proactively implemented water savings and alternate water solutions. Restaurants and bars are required to adhere to the water restrictions but have not, to date, been negatively affected.

Which tourism activities could be impacted?

You will still be able to access and enjoy our main attractions such as the iconic Table Mountain, Cape Point, and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

For more information visit


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