Cape Town – Four more Western Cape municipalities are expected to be declared disaster zones as the drought continues its devastation across the province, bringing to seven the number of municipalities in danger of running out of water.
The provincial cabinet on April 26 expected to declare the Bitou, Hessequa, Knysna and Oudtshoorn municipalities local disaster areas.
These municipalities would join the City of Cape Town, Kannaland and Witzenberg municipalities, which were declared local disaster areas last month.
The declarations, which come in the wake of critically low dam levels, are valid for three months and are declared to accelerate the various small-scale emergency water supply schemes at each municipality.
James-Brent Styan, spokesperson for Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell, said collective dam levels across the province were at 24.3%.
Mayoral committee member for water services, Xanthea Limberg, said the city had already initiated plans to source alternative water supply in the form of emergency schemes.
“Many of the preliminary phases are under way or earmarked to start soon, this includes the Table Mountain Group Aquifer,” Limberg said on Monday.
“Although actual drilling has not commenced, the preliminary phases are under way and unless there are challenges, drilling is expected to commence in June 2017.”
She said in the event of an absolute worst-case scenario – should dams reach below 10% of the storage levels – the city would implement what she called “lifeline water supply”, which would involve very stringent restrictions.
Other measures included the installation of water management devices for those who do not limit consumption, even if they already pay the highest tariffs, Limberg said.
Water consumption in Cape Town over the past week was 741 million litres per day, 41 million litres above the collective usage target of 700 million litres per day.
“If each person uses around 100 litres a day, we will achieve our targeted reduced consumption,” Limberg said.