Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Water Security Expert Available on Cape Town's Water Crisis

A general view of Steenbras Dam Parched Cape Town residents queue at midnight for water
Glenn Montgomery | 09 February, 2018, 07:07

Dam water levels are dangerously low, at an average of 25 percent.

And all this comes at a time when India is touring the country and Australia are due to play a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town in March.

"Capetonians must continue reducing consumption if we are to avoid Day Zero", the city's deputy mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement. "It [Day Zero] is still a very real possibility if we take our focus off of saving water".

"Everyone is taking as many steps and measures that they possibly can to try and make sure we don't reach Day Zero", said Gabrielle Bolton, spokeswoman for the five-star Belmond Mount Nelson hotel.

"The water crisis is national, and all South Africans have to immediately adapt the way they consume and recycle water", Le Roux added, explaining that the Eastern Cape was also experiencing a severe water crisis, Gauteng had Level 1 water restrictions in place and Rand Water recently placed a limit on its water supply in order to stay within permissible limits, having exceeded the allowable licence limit. "There has not been any significant decline in urban usage".

"It is important for residents to understand that the allocation of water to agricultural users is determined exclusively by National Government". It is the largest of five major dams supplying drinking water to the city.

Already the agricultural sector has used 90% of its allocation, meaning a significantly decreased demand on the Western Cape supply system.

Experts say this kind of drought only comes once in 300 years.

"Our concern is the 174.7-million cubic metres allocated to us, and whether the national minister will ensure we get it", he said. "Rather than throwing away your empty water bottles, consider donating them to fellow residents who may need containers for their water", she said.

Maimane detailed some of the demand management techniques being introduced by the City - these include pressure reduction across zones, the installation of water management devices, and increased tariffs for those using more water than the daily allowance.

Further, the city can expect a shortfall in revenue, as water use decreases and the revenue collected from water use in Cape Town, which now makes up about 10% of the city budget, declines.

Maimane said he was confident the City can defeat Day Zero and thanked residents for assisting in "creative and inspiring ways".

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