Day Zero, the day in which Cape Town taps are set to run dry, has been moved further out to 9 July 2018 partly due to slower weekly drop in dam levels reflecting declining rates of water usage. But these news came with a caution that Day Zero may still move closer to June.
Dam levels dropped by only 0.5% last week to 24.4% as compared to a 1.9% drop in 2014.
Cape Town’s weekly average water demand is reported to have dropped to to 523 megalitres per day (MLD) compared to 1 130 MLD in 2014. And there was the fact that the water transferred from Groenland reached Steenbras Upper Dam last week and slightly increasing the dam level.
While Cape Town’s water usage has been declining of late, the city’s target of reducing water usage to below 450 million litres per day and 50 litres per person is yet to be reached.
City’s Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, said the Groenland water transfer and the reduction in our weekly average demand has had a dramatic impact on the Day Zero date, which is determined by assuming that the fortnightly trend of weekly dam storage change will continue. This precautionary outlook assumes no further rainfall and that water demand may not reduce over the next few months. It has been adopted to allow sufficient lead time for implementation of temporary water collection points in the event that these may be required.
Neilson added that “We anticipate that Day Zero could move back into June again once the Groenland transfer has been completed, unless we are able to meet the 450 MLD collective water usage target. Therefore it is imperative that we reach this target to make it through to the winter rains.
“Today I urge the residents of Cape Town not to ease up on their water-saving efforts. We cannot afford to slow down when the estimated Day Zero date moves out, simply because we cannot accurately predict the volume of rainfall still to come or when it will come. Last year we had abnormally low winter rainfall, and we cannot assume that this year will be any different.
“The only way we can stretch our water supplies is to adhere to the 50 litres per person per day water allocation. Our water saving efforts across the metro have thus far been our greatest defence against Day Zero. Now is definitely not the time to ease up.”