Making Wise Water Choices in Cape Town

In celebration of World Water Day on 22 March, we look at what tourist attractions are doing to conserve water, how you, as a visitor can help, and why tap water in Cape Town is some of the safest in the world to consume.  

Doing Their Bit to Save Water

Many Cape Town attractions are conserving water one drop at a time. Here are some of their exciting initiatives:

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront plans to commission an R184 million seawater desalination plant in the precinct in early 2024. The reverse-osmosis plant will enable the entire Waterfront to go off the water grid. At full capacity, it is set to provide between 3.5 million and 5 million litres of water per day, benefiting tenants, residents, and visitors. “Building this kind of resilience and providing certainty for business owners and citizens are all part of the Waterfront’s way of doing business,” V&A recently shared in a LinkedIn post.


Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (TMACC) has implemented many initiatives to conserve water. This includes the installation of recycling toilets at the Top Station, which use less water, waterless urinals, toilets fitted with a dual-flush mechanism, and sensor-operated and push-button taps throughout their ablution facilities. TMACC has also reduced the amount of grey water generated by 1 million litres by moving the production kitchen to the Lower Cable Station and using compostable cups, lids, cutlery and straws in their food and beverage facilities. They have installed a borehole at the Lower Station, which is used to flush visitor and staff toilets, to water plants, and wash the outside areas. Meters have been installed to monitor water usage.


The Hotel Verde

The Hotel Verde has clinched numerous sustainability awards and earned the prestigious title of “Africa’s Greenest Hotel.” Not only does the establishment boast a sustainable infrastructure, but it also adheres to green principles, processes, and measures to ensure that all operations are eco-friendly. Their water conservation strategies encompass the utilisation of greywater recycling systems, repurposing greywater from showers to replenish toilet cisterns.


GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World

GrandWest has been awarded a prestigious 4-star rating certification by the City of Cape Town for the property’s ongoing commitment to conserving water since the recent drought. Some of the water-saving measures adopted by this Cape Town attraction include using greywater for irrigation purposes, installing flow restrictors on taps and showers, replacing gardens with indigenous plants, and reusing the melted water from the ice rink for irrigating the gardens.

GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World launched its water purification plant on the property to treat borehole water to potable standards in 2018.

The process began in February 2017 when GrandWest investigated feasible options for using potable water. They commissioned a water treatment plant on-site that includes four groundwater wells and a treatment plant with iron removal, sand filtration, reverse osmosis, and stripping capability to comfortably deliver up to 10,000 kilolitres per month.

According to GrandWest’s Engineering Manager Johan Gelderblom, water drawn from the four boreholes passes through a set of pre-filters that removes most of the metals and suspended solids. He explained that the filters are aerated to assist with the oxidation of the water and then stored in a holding or buffer tank. The water is then taken through a set of reverse osmosis (RO) filters from where it is pumped into a 400,000-litre holding tank. As required, the water is later pumped to the main water reservoir via a UV generator unit, which stops bacteria and further purifies the water.


Spier Wine Farm

At Spier, their motto is to reuse and reduce, which is why 100% of Spier’s black and grey wastewater is recycled using a centralised wastewater treatment plant installed in 2007. The environmentally friendly plant can process up to 1 million litres at any given time, and the clean water is then used to irrigate the gardens and lawns.

The treatment plant has the capacity to produce 50 million litres of clean water annually. Spier takes a proactive approach to managing water consumption by monitoring their daily use online, which also aids in finding possible water leaks. The wine farm typically uses an average of 5.6l of water for 1l of wine. However, through a combination of effective cleaning programmes, staff training, water-saving devices, use of high-pressure machines and barrel steamers, they have reduced the amount of water to just 1.99L per 1L of wine made. All vineyards on the Spier farm are watered with drip irrigation and continuous logging irrigation probes monitor soil moisture and provide data on how much water each vineyard and pasture needs, which helps reduce potential wastage.


Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which offers cruises to over 400 destinations globally, including Cape Town, continuously seeks and invests in new technologies and innovations aimed at improving their environmental performance, both for their existing fleet and the new ships on order. Some of their water-saving initiatives include waste heat recovery, which recovers heat from engines and transfers it to freshwater piping, creating a free source of energy to enhance water production and save fuel. Additionally, they utilise a Ballast water treatment system to ensure that no invasive species are inadvertently introduced into new waters. Their advanced Wastewater Treatment System treats and cleans all wastewater to meet stringent international standards. Together with their onboard water production, these measures help conserve water.


Cape Town’s Tap Water is Safe to Drink

When you turn on your tap in Cape Town, you can trust that the water is treated, tested, and safe for consumption.

The City of Cape Town complies with strict water quality checks as prescribed by the national government’s Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). This rigorous process ensures that water quality is closely monitored through the analysis of many water samples, meeting the stringent requirements of the South African National Standards (SANS 241:2015). Their laboratory tests over 5,700 water samples each year to ensure quality, with samples tested on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Watch more here:

How You Can Help Save Water

When travelling, it’s crucial to remember to conserve water. Here are some tips:

Opt for shorter showers: While enjoying the luxuries of accommodations or beachside facilities, consider limiting shower time to conserve water.

Flush less: Try to flush the toilet less. Each flush uses between 6 and 14 litres, depending on the kind of toilet.

Reuse towels and linens: Embrace sustainability by reusing towels and linens during your stay at hotels or guesthouses, reducing the need for excessive laundry and water consumption.

Choose refillable water bottles: Instead of purchasing single-use plastic water bottles, carry a refillable bottle and fill it up at designated water stations or restaurants to minimise plastic waste and water usage.

Report leaks and drips: Report any leaks or drips in public restrooms, hotels or recreational areas to conserve water and prevent unnecessary wastage.

About Us

Cape Town Tourism is the city of Cape Town's official Regional Tourism Organisation, responsible for tourism marketing, visitor and industry services.

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