#DayZero: Cape Town buys one more month

2018-02-20 13:25
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille at the Newlands spring in Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille at the Newlands spring in Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Day Zero - when the taps run dry in Cape Town - has been moved back yet again, the city announced on Tuesday.

"Day Zero, the day we may have to start queuing for water, has now moved to 9 July due to a weekly drop in dam levels of only 0.5% (as compared to a 1.9% drop in 2014)," Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement.

The push-back was attributed to Groenland water reaching Steenbras Upper Dam, but Neilson warned that the slight increase in dam levels would be reversed if water consumption increased.

Water consumption averaged 523 megalitres per day (MLD) which, although significantly better that the 1 130MLD in 2014, was way off the target of 450MLD.

"We anticipate that Day Zero could move back into June again once the Groenland transfer has been completed, unless we are able to meet the 450 MLD collective water usage target. Therefore, it is imperative that we reach this target to make it through to the winter rains," said Neilson.

Signs of panic

City residents are encouraged to continue to limit water use to less than 50l per day to avoid Day Zero.

Day Zero was previously set at June 4 and many retail stores have already placed limits on how much bottled water consumers may purchase at a time.

Signs of panic have also been seen at the Newlands spring recently, where there was fight over the collection of water, resulting in one arrest.

The City has since rerouted the water to ease the congestion at the facility.

The City indicated that its progress - in terms of providing alternative water sources through desalination, recycling and ground water - is 62% complete.

Dams around the city have collective storage of 24.4%, or 219 045 megalitres (Ml), compared to total capacity of 898 221Ml.

Current Dam Water Levels - 20/2/2018

Major dams





Capacity when full 


Berg River

130 010


Steenbras Lower

33 517


Steenbras Upper

31 767



480 188



164 095



58 644


Total Stored Ml

898 221

219 045

% Storage




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Read more on:    cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis

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