“We have reached a point of no return” – these are the chilling words Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille used at a media briefing earlier today.
De Lille announced that despite the City’s efforts, 60% of residents have continued to use in excess of 87 liters per day. “The people still abusing and wasting water seem to have it in their minds that Day Zero can’t just happen or that the City’s seven augmentation projects will be enough to save us,” she said.
De Lille announced that the crisis has now reached a new severity necessitating a series of emergency measures. She said that they can “no longer ask people to stop wasting water and now have to force them”.
“We have listened to the comments of thousands of residents asking for fairness. Council will on Friday be voting on a punitive tariff that will see exponentially higher rates for water for residents using more than 6000 litres per month,” she said.
This now means residents using over 6000 litres will no longer pay R28.44 instead they will pay R145.98.
De Lille said that the drought charge is likely to be dropped following a massive outcry from residents. Prior to this, they have made deep cuts to important projects. The city has decided to implement level 6B water restrictions with a new limit of 50 litres per day for 150 days to make up for the many months of missing the 500-million litres per day target.
The new restriction will also limit borehole water and well points usage.
“The City has also advanced its planning for Day Zero with approximately 200 sites having been assessed,” she said. They will be creating a detailed Day Zero contingency plan that will be available soon.
De Lille also used the opportunity to stress that she remains committed and that the current political woes are not a distraction to her. Day Zero will arrive when dam levels sit at 13.5%. Residents will then have to collect water daily from around 200 collection sites across the City.
Currently, dam levels are sitting at 28% with only 18% usable water left.
Picture: Sean Dollery / HM Images