CAPE TOWN, June 28 (NNN-SABC) -- Harsher water restrictions may be implemented in Cape Town from next week as levels at dams supplying South Africa's most populous city remain critically low at 24 per cent despite the recent rainfall.

Level 4b restrictions, the next stage of restriction, will entail reducing usage to under a 100 litres per person per day. Despite efforts to save water, Capetonians are still using 30 million litres more than their daily target.

Intensified restrictions will mean an even more drastic approach and failure to do so could have significant cost implications.

Xanthea Limberg, a member of the City of Cape Town Council. says there will be cost implications as part of that level for restrictions, adding that the courts have approved a new schedule of fines. Under 4b restrictions, the same fine schedule will be applicable.

The fines have increased from the previous level 3b so you can be issued with a spot fine of 5,000 to 10,000 rand (one US dollar = 103 Rand) and for serious offenders, jail time could be a possibility as well, she said here Tuesday.

The City Council says that from next month, only indigent households will receive the first 6,000 litres of municipal water free.

Residents like Toni van Eyssen have come up with different ways to save water. "I'm collecting the washing machine water and re-using it in the cisterns and re-using it back into the washing machine for the last wash and on anywhere else for washing floors and washing down things and of course every bit of water we can save. I'm doing that so I'm actually really quite curious about what level 4 is going to bring us other than the high tariffs.

Water-intensive businesses like Dayaan Keown's car wash say they've had to make costly adjustments in order to continue operating. A recycling and filtration system has cost this car wash nearly 100,000 Rand and their only other option is to close down and leave staff jobless.

"We have installed a water recycling plant to recycle the water that is being used currently. On average, we are using about a maximum of 10 litres of water per car, which is not much. But we are trying to recycle as much as possible so that we can do our part as far as water conservation is concerned."

The City says it is continuing its pressure reduction programmes in a bid to save every drop.