Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has begged residents of Cape Town to save water like their lives depended on it – because it does.
Zille also urged President Jacob Zuma to declare a national disaster to enable authorities to respond to Day Zero – when Capetonians have to collect water.
“The reason that I think it would be useful to declare a national state of disaster is because then everything is in place for anything that we need to do that may require us to shortcut certain systems,” she said.
On Monday, Zille met with officials from the provincial disaster management centre, and other interested parties to discuss water security measures, safety and security, local economy and the fate of the elderly, disabled and children.
Capetonians continue to use more than 600-million litres of water per day instead of the prescribed 450-million litres. The provinces dams are at around 27,2% capacity and under new Level 6B water restrictions residents will only be allowed to use 50 litres of water per day.
South African Breweries will be bottling and distributing 9-million litres in 12-million bottles.
“People must not now think SAB will save us from Day Zero. The only thing that will save us is if everyone cuts their water consumption for all purposes to 50 litres per person per day,” she said.
“What their generous offer will help us with, for example, is getting water to institutions – such as old age homes – that desperately need it when the taps go off.”
There was no precedent anywhere in the world for this kind of disaster, Zille said.
“[We need to] start saving water as if our lives depend on it, because our lives do depend on it. Everyone now has to start taking this very, very seriously.”
SAB general manager John Stenslund said: “”We are currently analysing the way we would do it and our process. We are very good at producing beer but we don’t have any experience in terms of bottling or canning it. We currently have teams working long hours to make sure we can live up to our promise and commitment to the city and to the government.”
Picture by: K-leigh/HM Images