Water-scarce Cape Town holding 'Day Zero' talks with police, army

2017-11-16 20:39
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille is in talks with the police and the army to prepare for May 13 2018 - the day the taps are now anticipated to run dry around the city, with water only available at collection points, she said on Thursday.

"The City is consulting with the South African Police Service and the [SA]National Defence Force to ensure the safety of residents at these sites and maintain general law and order," said De Lille in a statement.

"Today (on Thursday) teams are testing how a real water collection point will work. This is one of many preparedness exercises that the City is undertaking".

She said "Day Zero" has moved from March, which was earlier predicted, due to dramatic consumption reduction, and major interventions, but when the dams hit only 13.5% full, almost all the taps will be turned off.

Dams are currently at an average 37.5% full.

READCape Town water levels

When that happens, residents will be rationed to 25 litres of drinking water per person per day, which will be distributed at about 200 points around the city.

A massive public health communication campaign will be mounted to limit disease and keep sanitation systems working.

The city's Water and Sanitation Department, law enforcement teams, and Disaster Risk Management officers are already gearing up for "Day Zero".

In the meantime, Capetonians must reduce their water consumption even more and not exceed the maximum 87l per person per day.

''Many Capetonians have heeded the call to reduce their consumption dramatically and we thank you," said De Lille.

"The City is also doing its bit. As we bring additional supply online from February onwards with more new water coming online in the months thereafter, Day Zero will be pushed further away".

READ:  Cape Town gets Gigaba's go-ahead to deal with drought

She said an additional seven million litres of water is already being brought in from the Molteno Reservoir in Oranjezicht and the Atlantis Aquifer.

Seven projects in their first phase are underway at Monwabisi, Strandfontein, the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town Harbour desalination plants; the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects and the Zandvliet water recycling project. 

These will produce 144 million litres per day between February and July.

Another 12 projects are in the advanced planning stage.

"But this can only work if everyone plays their part: residents and the City".

READ:  Only half of Cape Town putting 'efforts into saving water' - De Lille

If "Day Zero" hits, densely populated informal settlements will be prioritised if any taps are left on and decisions on keeping areas connected will be based on factors such as critical infrastructure, population density and risk profile for disease outbreak and fires.

Read more on:    patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis  |  water restrictions

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