Cape Town water crisis: WWF helps you understand the basics

2018-01-19 22:26

Cape Town – With only 39% of Capetonians having adhered to water restrictions in the month of January, making the water crisis even more urgent, the WWF has released an information pack detailing what residents can expect should the city's taps run dry.

The document builds on many of the main points raised at a recent press briefing on the water crisis held by Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille.

READ: Drought levy likely to be dropped after massive outcry – De Lille

When is Day Zero likely to happen?

Both the City of Cape Town and WWF have calculated Day Zero to be about three months away on April 21.

This date is calculated based on how much water is in the big six dams that feed Cape Town and the Western Cape Water Supply System, and how much water is being used by the city's residents, agriculture and how much dam water is lost to evaporation.

"As of 15 January, the dams were 28% full and if we continue using water at the current rate we will run out of water on 21 April," says WWF.

De Lille explained at the press briefing on Thursday that Day Zero could only be avoided if every single resident saves water. As things stand, Capetonians have mostly ignored the water restrictions.

"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. I want to thank those residents who are saving," said De Lille.

Cape Town's average daily collective consumption remained too high, De Lille said. From an average of 578 million litres per day, Cape Town was now using 618 million litres per day, she said. 

"For each day that Cape Town uses more than 500 million litres, the city moves closer to Day Zero," De Lille said.

What is likely to happen on Day Zero?

"On Day Zero, the city will move into full-scale Emergency Stage 3. This means that water to households and businesses will be cut off. There will not be enough water in the system to maintain normal services and the taps (and toilets) will run dry," stated WWF.

Schools and businesses may not be able to operate if there is no water supply.

According to WWF, only hospitals and clinics, stand-pipes in informal settlements and the 200 points of distribution where people can collect their allocated 25 litres per person will still receive water.

De Lille said that water supply to the Cape Town CBD and informal settlements would not be cut off on Day Zero.

At the briefing, De Lille said the city would be moving to Level 6B water restrictions from February 1, with a new target of 50 litres of water per person per day. 

"The new daily collective consumption target is now 450 million litres per day," De Lille said. 

"This will be in place for 150 days, after which the City will reassess."

How will Capetonians get access to water?

"The City will be demarking everyone’s local collection points from next week so that communities can begin preparing for [Day Zero]," said De Lille on Thursday.

WWF suggested that people, especially the elderly, who are unable to access water from the collection points become familiar with their neighbours.

Queuing and carrying water may be difficult for some people so it is essential that communities work together to ensure that everyone can get through the crisis, advises WWF.

Read more on:    wwf  |  city of cape town  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis  |  water

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