Cape Town - As the City of Cape Town unveiled its preparations for Day Zero, hundreds of Muslims gathered at Spine Road High School to pray for rain.
The City disclosed its detailed operations plan for the 180 water collection spots (WCS) around the city at a briefing at the Disaster Management Centre on Sunday.
The Day Zero plan would see 75% of the city’s taps being turned off. This excludes commercial areas, hospitals and informal settlements. The rest of the city will have access to water at one of the 180 WCSs which will be hosted at locations to be revealed later this week.
The WCSs will be open for 12 hours a day, which could be adjusted to 24 hours depending on the need at locations. The WCSs will contain 50 or up to 600 taps each and will have pedestrian and vehicular access at certain locations.
The SAPS, Metro police, law enforcement and SANDF have agreed to assist at WCSs and the City is hoping to involve community neighbourhood watches to monitor and assist residents at sites. Medical personnel will be present at all times in case of emergencies.
The City hopes this Day Zero scenario will last for a maximum of three months, during which time it is hoped that augmented water solutions, such as desalination plants and winter rains, will have replenished the water supply enough for taps to be reopened.
“No residents will be blocked from access to water, as no identification or accreditation will be required. Each resident will be able to have access to 25 litres of water and will be able to take up to 100 litres proxy. Water tankers will be used to deliver water to vulnerable groups such as old age homes and care facilities,” a City spokesperson said.
Where sanitation is concerned, the City was looking into a “royal flush” system to get residents to flush at a certain time of day to build up enough water pressure to cleanse the system. The City is also looking into people accessing other forms of non-potable water such as sea water for sanitation use.
The City said that those stockpiling water by collecting it in taps were driving us closer to Day Zero and said that they would beef up their water-monitoring measures this week by investigating unlicensed stores selling potable water to residents.
However, the ANC still claims that Day Zero is avoidable and is an unnecessary tool created by the DA to rattle residents.
The ANC in the Western Cape met with the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, on Friday, seeking clarity on the plans to avoid Day Zero.
They said the department was working hard in Voelvlei Dam and Theewaterskloof to enable inter-basin transfers into the Berg River catchment.
However, executive deputy mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, said the plan to refill dams was yet to materialise. He implored residents to continue reducing their water consumption to avoid Day Zero, which is costing taxpayers R200 million.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslims gathered at Spine Road High School in Rocklands on Saturday in a “prayer for rain” service organised by the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and the Imanat Council.
Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels of the Imanat Council said this type of prayer (salatul istisqa) was held in the times of Moses and many other religious figures: “I am very pleased with the support of the community,” he said.
The MJC said it was planning to have another special prayer session sometime in the next week and they would continue to pray until rain comes.