• The City of Cape Town has commended residents for achieving a new water usage milestone. On Monday, March 12, Cape Town consumed 511-million litres of water, the closest we have ever been to the recommended target of 450-million litres per day.

    The City said, water usage is increasingly recognised as a phenomenal achievement across the world and dam levels are declining at a lower weekly rate thanks to the commendable water usage.

    “Dams supplying the City have declined by 0,6% to 23%. Although the potential for Day Zero has been moved to next year, the drought is still very real and the associated threat to water supply remains a reality. We therefore welcome today’s decision by the National Government to declare a national state of disaster as a result of the drought.

    “Judging from the mind-blowing achievements of our water users thus far, we are confident that we can get our water usage down further,” said the City in a statement.

    They further commented on concerns of whether Day Zero is a myth and why it has been moved so far…

    Was Day Zero a myth?
    – The potential for a Day Zero is and never was a myth. We conservatively projected it based on the actual rate of fall in dam levels. As irrigation and urban usage has reduced, so too has the rate of fall reduced and our Day Zero projection moved out. This was communicated transparently and honestly. The data on which these projections were made is independently available from the national Department of Water and Sanitation and is published in local newspapers.
    – The City would never jeopardise this city and its residents, businesses and economy unnecessarily by faking a Day Zero projection just as a scare tactic.
    – The water crisis is real. Just have a look at our dams to get the correct picture.
    – The crisis puts the City’s water income into a deficit. We would not deliberately fail to sell water if we had more to sell, as that would provide more income than increasing tariffs.
    – Level 6 restrictions and tariffs are no longer needed because Day Zero has moved out. We have to keep the restrictions in place. It is the low consumption that prevents us reaching Day Zero this year.

    Are Level 6 restrictions and tariffs still applicable?
    We have to keep the restrictions in place. It is the low consumption that prevents us reaching Day Zero this year.

    Was the City acting illegally with the installation of Water Management Devices?
    The Water By-law and a Council-approved directive empowers the City to install water management devices at the properties of high water users. It is a legal action which has also helped us to avert Day Zero. In terms of metering, these devices are SABS approved. They are installed across the city as every suburb has high users. High users receive a warning and a chance to correct behaviour, or to approach the City if there are many occupants on a property. Any action to prevent the legal installation of water management devices is illegal. The City will not tolerate actions that intimidate our officials, or contractors, or interfere with the execution of their legal duties.

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    Article written by

    Nidha Narrandes

    Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 19 years of journalism experience. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.