No professional team of hydrologists would let a city of 
4 million people run out of water, yet this is what the Department of Water and Sanitation has done, says the writer.
Cape Town receives its water from the Western Cape water supply system. The system became defunct in May 2016 when the professional service provider's contract expired.

Some of the system's functions have been taken over by the inept Department of Water and Sanitation, while others have been ignored.

The department has been “running the models”, it has not organised a single meeting of the strategy steering committee or the administrative and technical support group of the Western Cape water supply system.

The department informed me they intend implementing a new provincial strategic plan (PSP) in a couple of months while the City of Cape Town is scheduled to run out of water. 

It's not clear whether it's incompetence or deliberate, but the department is giving the new PSP no time to work with - a hospital pass of note.

The savings the department has made in delaying the appointment of a PSP for two years is going to be insignificant when compared to the economic losses facing agriculture and the City of Cape Town if our water does run out. 

The incompetence of the department is difficult to overstate, with them taking over three years to deal with a licence application from the City of Cape Town for more water.

To think the department could do as good a job as a firm of independent professionals is foolish. No professional team of hydrologists would ever let a city of 4 million people run out of water.  

A professional firm would notice that we are in the middle of a one-in-400-year drought event and act accordingly, which is what the department has failed to do.

It has failed to curb agricultural consumption and the City of Cape Town's water dashboard graphs reveals that, at current consumption levels, agriculture is set to run out of water before the end of February.

I doubt the farmers of the Western Cape are going to be too pleased with the department .

Who knows what will happen when agriculture have used up their quota? Will the department keep supplying them water at 35c/kl, ensuring Cape Town definitely runs out of water?

It sounds like a prank to turn off someone's water a prank until thousands of people start dying. The tourist industry will suffer, there will be thousands of job losses and millions, if not billions, of rand lost.

The staff at the department shouldn't be sleeping too soundly, because if Day Zero takes place, the finger is going to point squarely at them for dereliction of duty and negligence.

Ultimately we have to decide the relative importance of having fruit and wine to export versus having water to drink.

Marius de Kock