Day Zero: Capetonians might have to do 'royal flush' soon

2018-01-28 20:34


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Cape Town - Three, two, one - flush!

This could be the daily chant around Cape Town as the city's sanitation director plans for the possibility of city-wide group flush at certain times to keep faeces from getting stuck in sewerage pipes.

"It could be from 06:00 to 08:00 in the morning, and then again at a certain time later in the day," said Pierre Maritz on the sidelines of a briefing on Sunday to provide details of how Day Zero would work if the city runs out of water.

Maritz said the "royal flush" might have to be called at certain times of the day to build up the velocity needed to get the load to the treatment plants.

"Normally, people don't want to talk about it," said Maritz, providing a chuckle at a briefing on the city's Day Zero plans.

If the current usage of 600 megalitres is not cut down, Day Zero could happen as soon as April 12, according to the city's calculations.

Many people are already putting their shower and laundry water into their toilet cisterns to save potable water.

In the meantime, the city's disaster management team has already cleared 186 of the 200 water collection points it will run for people to fetch a ration of 25l per person a day as it braces for Day Zero - when the taps run dry.

Day Zero could last for three months or just a few days, depending on water consumption and when the rain starts again.

The average dam levels for those that serve the city is currently 26.8% full.

People are expected to wash, cook, and clear their toilets with the 25l as there will not be water going into houses for toilet flushing. 

The city is also exploring how it can use non-drinking water for flushing and the possibility of adding lime to the sewers to keep the methane levels down.

READ: So madam minister, where is the water? - asks Cape Town deputy mayor

Read more on:    cape town  |  day zero  |  drought  |  water crisis

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