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93 days left until Day Zero

93 days left until Day Zero

16 Jan 2018 Tags: Day Zero City of Cape Town Level 6 Water Restrictions

We’re only 93 days away from Day Zero (as at the time of going online) – that’s 13 weeks and two days! As from 1 January, the City of Cape Town implemented Level 6 water restrictions.  And has since announced that Day Zero – when dam levels will be so low, taps will run dry and residents must queue for drinking water daily – has moved to 21 April 2018. Don’t let it get to that. Here’s what you can do…

The City of Cape Town says while it recognises that many people in the city are making an effort to save water, some 200 000 households still use more than 10 500 litres per month which is far too high.

Cape Town’s average daily collective consumption has increased to 618 million litres per day, up from 578 million litres per day. With Level 6 water restrictions, the City is calling on all Capetonians to further reduce water consumption.

If each person keeps water usage at 87 litres per day for essential indoor needs, there shouldn’t be any spike in consumption, whether it’s hot or cold and this can help avoid Day Zero. According to the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille: “The only way Cape Town can avoid Day Zero is if every single resident saves water. But this is not the case. During the past week only 39% of Cape Town’s residents used less than 87 litres of water per person per day – compared to 54% during the first week of January.

“For each day that Cape Town uses more than 500 million litres, the city moves closer to Day Zero. It is up to every resident to do his and her part to save water while we still have water to save.”

In a recent New York Times article, Dr Anthony Turton, a professor at the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State is quoted as saying: “The city of Cape Town could conceivably become the first major city in the world to run out of water, and that could happen in the next four months. It’s not an impending crisis – we’re deep, deep, deep in crisis.”

While there’s no question that the water crisis is getting dire, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) is encouraged by the many Central City stakeholders who are setting an example by implementing special water-saving initiatives, and hopes more will follow suit. After all, just like the rest of the metropole, the Central City is also in the grips of a severe drought.

For example, the Townhouse Hotel in Corporation Street places buckets in each room and encourages guests to put these in the shower when they use it. The staff then collect the water and use it irrigate the trees outside the hotel. Tsogo Sun, the CBD’s biggest hotel group, has instructed all front-line staff to inform guests about the drought. And it has reduced the frequency of towel and linen washing.  CCID NGO partner The Carpenter’s Shop, which has become known for its car wash, now uses a dry chemical method for 15% of its washes.

So, what do Level 6 Water restrictions mean in practice and what can you do?

To adhere to Level 6 water restrictions and help avoid Day Zero, take note of the following:

  • Borehole water use for outdoor purposes is discouraged to preserve groundwater resources.
  • Commercial properties need to reduce usage by 45% compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought).
  • Excessive water users will be fined.
  • No hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water.
  • No irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water allowed.
  • No use of portable play pools.
  • No washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water allowed.
  • Private swimming pools may not be topped up or filled with municipal drinking water.
  • Residential units using more than 10 500 litres per month will be fined or have water management devices installed on their properties.
  • Use no more than 87 litres of municipal drinking water per person per day whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.
  • Water features may not use municipal drinking water.

Saving water is everyone’s responsibility and every effort, no matter how small it may seem, counts. Check out this article for additional water-saving tips you can follow to help avoid Day Zero.

Images by eNCA and CCID