Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. File picture: Armand Hough/ANA

Cape Town - The South African Police Service said on Wednesday it had plans in place to secure the Western Cape province in the event of its water running  out.

The possibility that water taps could run dry, referred to as "day zero"  has been moved forward to April 12. It was previously set at April 21.

In a statement, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said police had presented a strategy that included "the deployment of forces at the various points of distribution across the metro, regular patrols, escorting of water resources to critical points where necessary, and 24 hour monitoring of crime hotspots".

The South African National Defence Force, military police, law enforcement and traffic officers would provide additional support while a joint operations centre would be activated, Zille said.

She said police would work closely with the provincial cabinet and the provincial disaster management centre and she would receive regular updates in the lead up to day zero.

Critical resolutions related to the water crisis have also been adopted by the provincial cabinet.

"Cabinet resolved to take whatever steps are necessary to recover the money from the national government to cover the cost of the current water crisis interventions," said the premier.

"The provision of bulk water supply is a national government mandate. Where water supply has to be increased in emergency circumstances by the province or the city, it amounts to an unfunded emergency mandate, for which the costs have to be recovered."

Increased bulk water supply will be commissioned in the short term to manage the disaster.

"While the Western Cape government continues to coordinate the current disaster, we can still avoid day zero if everyone remains within the limit of 50 litres per person per day. Save water like your life depends on it, because it does," said Zille.

Cape Town last week drastically cut water restrictions again to about two-and-a-half standard buckets per person each day from 87 litres, due to a lack of rains which traditionally fill catchment areas and supply the city and surrounding areas.

African News Agency/ANA