Day Zero, the day Cape Town’s water taps are expected to run dry due to a severe drought, has once more been moved out to 4 June 2018 raising hopes that it may be pushed out indefinitely.
This was mainly due to the continued decline in water usage by both the agricultural sector and households.
Announcing this, Cape Town Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, said “Cape Town we are getting there. We now need to see how low we can go to ensure that we stretch our water supplies as far as possible into the winter months by reaching the 450 million litre per day collective consumption target which equates to 50 litres per person per day.”
He said over the past week, consumption has been lowered to 526 million litres per day. This is the first time that the weekly average usage has remained under 550 million litres due to the City’s pressure management interventions and the efforts by residents to use as little water as possible.
Dam levels are at only 24,9% compared to 36,1% last year and 43,3% in 2016. Neilson said though the dam levels are much lower than a year ago, the city has more information and more control over the system that supplies water. “Our continued interactions with the National Department of Water and Sanitation have led to much improved data-sharing and analysis, allowing for more reliable modelling and dramatically improved control over dam levels.”
He noted that a year ago, the average water demand was 830 million litres per day and the weekly change in dam levels was 1,9%. Two years ago water usage was more than one billion litres per day, resulting in a weekly change of 2,1%. Neilson said “If our dam levels were currently dropping at this rate we would reach Day Zero before the end of March. Our dam levels declined by 0,6% over the past week.
“It is absolutely clear that when we need to pull together in this city, we can do so. If we continue to work as a team to lower our consumption to 450 million litres per day as required, we will become known as one of the most resilient cities in the world. We are fast becoming a leading example of a large city that is fundamentally changing its relationship with water.
“We are very grateful to the farming sector, especially associations such as the Groenland Water Users’ Association for their water transfer to the Steenbras dam, and to the National Department of Water and Sanitation for facilitating this supply injection. In accepting this transfer, we acknowledge the sacrifices that many in the farming sector have made during this extreme drought.”
He said the City will continue to implement pressure management to reduce usage, to install water management devices at the properties of high users and to conduct blitzes to ensure that all water users adhere to the water restrictions. All preparations for the possibility of reaching Day Zero also continue as planned.
“We must all keep doing absolutely everything in our power to reach the target set by the National Department to reduce our urban usage by 45%. Level 6b restrictions make it compulsory for residents to use no more than 50 litres per person per day to stretch our dwindling supplies through summer and into the winter months and thereby avoid the drastic step of having to queue for water,” he said.