By Farren Collins And Nashira Davids

Cape Town has been declared a disaster area because of the crippling drought. But every day a pensioner from Manenberg on the Cape Flats watches as many litres of the precious resource goes to waste.

Shirley Woolgar is helpless – she survives on a state pension of R1500 and cannot afford to have the leak fixed despite asking for help.

On Monday it was announced that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille declared the city a disaster area. In a statement the city warned high water users to fix their leaks.

Woolgar – who has been identified as one of the highest water consumers in the city – said water is leaking in her bathroom is getting worse. She barely has food to eat she said and now she has a bill of R41,364.60 to worry about.

“[It] is ridiculous because I reported the problem five times and nobody has come‚” said Woolgar.

“I was [at the council] again yesterday and I was told I might just ‘hang on’. I asked them how long I must hang on‚ because my bill is just going higher and higher.”

TMG Digital recently visited Woolgar after the city released a list of top 100 water user throughout the municipality. Woolgar’s street name was listed as home to one of the worst perpetrators‚ and her recent bill meant it was likely to be her.

She lives with her unemployed son and an unemployed tenant‚ but her water bill has rarely exceeded R300 – until recently.

The city’s councillor for water and waste service‚ Xanthea Limberg issued a stern warning to high water users: “Those who have not played an active saving role must do so immediately by ensuring that their homes are water-efficient‚ that they fix their leaks – both above ground and underground – and that they continue to implement no- to low-cost water-saving techniques.”

Woolgar said she does not know what to do.

“I’m in a predicament. I feel let down by the city. The ward councillor was here [two weeks ago] with six law enforcement [officers] but nothing has been done.”

Ward councillor Bonita Jacobs could not be reached for comment.

The city announced that dam levels had dropped below 32%‚ which equated to approximately 113 days of water.

– TMG Digital/The Times