Urgency stressed to address water crisis in Cape Town

Tourists travelling to Cape Town, South Africa have been warned to keep water usage to a minimum, as it has been estimated that the city's water reserves could run out as early as 18 March.

Cape Town, now on Level 6B water restrictions, is still not achieving its target of 500 megaliters per day.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson on Tuesday announced that Day Zero had been brought forward by nine days, to April 12, due to a drop in dam levels.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa's main opposition party, runs both Cape Town and Western Cape province.

Cape Town residents collect 25 litres of water at the Newlands springs in Cape Town. And that is not pointing fingers or bickering, just stating a fact because number one: "we are already putting in a desalinator at the Waterfront. and it will be producing two megalitres of water in itself", she said.

The limit will fall to 50 litres a day on February 1 - but the city's mayor, Patricia de Lille, said she feared they had reached the "point of no return".

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On Monday, Zille said that she had written to President Jacob Zuma, asking for a national disaster to be declared after the likelihood of Day Zero was confirmed by the City of Cape Town.

"A lot of business owners and regular citizens have taken this into their own hands and are doing what they can", Elliott said.

"It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero".

A typical shower uses 15 litres per minute while a standard toilet consumes up to 15 litres per flush, according to WaterWise, a South African water usage awareness campaign.

Capetonians must prepare themselves for interrupted water supply in the coming weeks which may last as long as 12 hours at a time, DA leader Mmusi Maimane told a packed Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone on Wednesday morning.

Through making other behavioural changes, like not watering the garden, limiting the use of the washing machine to two cycles per week and re-using water wherever possible, we have been able to greatly reduce our daily consumption from around 18,000 kilolitres per month a year ago to the current 7,000 kilolitres per month.

  • Megan Austin