While severe thunderstorms lash upcountry provinces, the Western Cape has begun its dry descent into summer.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed to the media that they will be overseeing the allocation of water at collection points in the near future. A queuing system will be deployed for residents to receive their daily ration of water. The SANDF will be responsible to protect these watering points.
While this doesn’t sound out of place in a post-apocalyptic movie, the City of Cape Town has confirmed that this will be a necessary step unless water is used sparingly.
Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, JP Smith, said that the SANDF’s involvement would be to assist the SAPS with maintaining law and order, and with the logistics of transport and water distribution. Water purification capacity would be provided by engineer corps at additional water distribution points, as well as to assist with humanitarian support and provide operational support at distribution stations.
Contingency plans for social disorder and public intolerance, as well as the outbreak of disease, were also confirmed by Smith.
Over and above level 5b water restrictions, the City has recently implemented the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan, which would entail:
- Activating water rationing through extreme pressure reduction/throttling (already in effect).
- The “disaster stage” – city’s law enforcement, policing resources and SANDF will be deployed to ensure general safety as residents will be allowed to collect a predefined amount of water from collection sites.
- The “extreme disaster phase” – the City is no longer able to extract water from its dams. Only water obtained from groundwater abstraction will be available for drinking purposes.
The situation is becoming increasingly a reality. Last month an unnamed government employee put it on record that the likelihood of Day Zero continues to increase, while the latest prediction circulating the press is that from Anthony Turton, a trained scientist specialising in water resource management as a strategic issue and renowned name when talking water conservation in local circles.
Photography Andreas Eiselen / HM Images