Non-Potable Water

Non Potable Water


Non-potable is a term that refers to water that is not of drinking water quality but can be used for other productive uses such as toilet flushing and irrigation. Non-potable water should be used across the Nation to reduce the pressure on natural water resources.

One of our primary goals is to motivate the use of non-potable and grey water for all non essential purposes.

Types of Non-Potable water:


Greywater is wastewater generated from showers and laundries. Greywater may be used treated or untreated, depending on its use.


Storm water is the run-off from roofs, roads, driveways and other hard surfaces. Storm water must generally be treated for use. Water caught in rainwater tanks is suitable for some uses.


Recycled water is water that has been used and is then supplied for reuse, either treated or untreated. Recycled water may be sourced from sewage (wastewater treatment plants).


Water sourced from boreholes & wellpoints


Non-Potable water available from lakes and rivers.


We have massive amounts of water available in Cape Town and Water 4 Cape Town supports the urgent application to harness these sources, many of which are pouring out of the ground and into the sea and the sewers.

In the rest of Africa water is a scarce resource and water trucks and storage tanks abound as a normal part of daily life, in Cape Town we have been so used to just turning on the tap and a plentiful supply will run at a low cost. As a cost effective and immediate solution Water 4 Cape Town advocates using our massive resources of Non-Potable water and encouraging all to harness this resource.

Now is the time to offer Non-Potable water, or underground water and where applicable convert for purpose and to distribute it where and when necessary.

The technology of treating Non-Potable water to a level acceptable to replace council water for both industrial and domestic purposes is easily obtained and at minimal cost. The substitution of non-potable water for use within industry, domestic and agriculture, could save the city millions of litres a month.

Take for example the flushing of toilets or cleaning of clothes, why use drinking water. Non-Potable sources can be stored, converted to a suitable standard and distributed to save drinking water and save jobs.

Converting Non-Potable water with filtration & UV lamps is quick, cheap and easy, all it needs is the intervention and private/public co-operation. The technology also allows further conversion to drinking quality to meet SANS standards.

Many jobs have already been lost and we have witnessed the underground entrepreneurs acting immediately to fill the gap and furnish this water to the public. The cleaning and laundry industry will soon be facing challenges and could easily move to Non-Potable. Industries such as bottling plants, cleaning foods/fish use huge quantities of drinking water to keep their factories clean and operational, often mixing with chemicals, with a little filtration Non-Potable water can be substituted as an alternative to municipal water.

Other industries including our hotel and tourism need water to wash towels, with tourists paying thousands of USD to stay, they expect their sheets to be clean and the pools to be operational, if tourism dies we can shed over 100,000 jobs in a season. Clean Non-Potable water is more than adequate for livestock, dogs and cats. Builders are still allowed to use municipal water for their industry, making cement for example can use almost any kind of non-drinking water, yet they are precluded from legally accessing or purchasing such resources.

Currently the COCT fire department uses scarce drinking water to fill the fire engines, here we would advocate the supply of Non-Potable water.

Examples of Industries that can use various grades of Non-Potable Water

Building & ContrstructionRoad Works Cement MixYY
Animal Feeds & IrrigationDrinking & Cleaning Animals / SlaughterYN
Hotels - Registered SataWashing Cloths, Washing Dishes PoolsYN
Food ProcessingCleaning / Washing FoodYN
Travel - Tourism - FilmCar Washing Hair Dressing??
DomesticToilet Flushing / ShowerYY
EngineeringSmelting / FabricationYY
Car WashWashing your vehicle


It is well established that over millions of years Cape Town has absorbed underground water which resides in aquifers all around our city.  There are sources of national rivers, streams and lakes as well as private boreholes in and around the City and the Cape Flats that are currently termed as Non-Potable and unavailable to use without a licence.

With minor intervention this water can be harnessed and distributed. Much of this water is currently used in non-essential areas such as the watering of luxury golf courses. The public are split between the rich with access to private borehole facilities and those living in areas where they fear the day when the taps run dry.