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#WaterCrisis: Day Zero brought forward to April 12

An example of what water collection points will look like.

An example of what water collection points will look like.

Published Jan 23, 2018


Cape Town - There are just 80 days left before Day Zero arrives.

Day Zero is when most of the taps in Cape Town will be shut off and residents will be forced to queue at some 200 water collection points for their allocated 25 litres of water per day.

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Cape Town's deputy mayor Ian Neilson said those not saving water should get on board with those who are. 

"To those of you who are not yet part of the massive water-saving efforts that are under way in Cape Town, we urge you to join friends, neighbours, colleagues and Team Cape Town as a whole in beating back Day Zero," Neilson said. 

"Unfortunately, due to a drop in the dam levels of 1.4%, Day Zero has, as of today, moved forward to 12 April 2018.

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Also read: Zille takes charge of Western Cape's #WaterCrisis

"However, it is still possible to push back Day Zero if we all stand together now and change our current path. Now is the time to do so. We will not be getting second chances.

"The City is making an enormous effort to delay Day Zero by rolling out aggressive pressure management operations across the city, installing thousands of water management devices on the properties of high users and ensuring that we better our record low overall water loss percentage of 16% (compared to the national average of 36%). Our average first response time to reported leaks and bursts is less than two hours.

"Our desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects aimed at providing additional water are ongoing but will not provide sufficient supply to help us avoid Day Zero this year. They will, however, help us to become more resilient in weathering our next dry season.

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Also read: 7 things you need to know about #DayZero

"Our main focus at this point must be on what we can do now to prevent our taps running dry by April. By joining us in our water-saving drive, you, your friends, neighbours, colleagues and social groups can help us to avoid Day Zero," Neilson said.

Dam levels were at 27.2%, the City of Cape Town said, with around 41% of Cape Town's residents actively saving water. Total collective usage was at 586 million litres per day, 86 million litres above the target.

"From 1 February the critical threshold will be 450 million litres per day. Users will be required to use 50 litres per person per day for 150 days at least.

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Despite the imminent arrival of Day Zero, the operational plan had still not been finalised.

"Our Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan draws from international best practices, and decisions around the basic design and distribution of water collection points reflect what other cities around the world have implemented when faced with extreme drought conditions," Neilson said.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA Pictures.

"The Disaster Risk Management Department has been looking at how these water collection points can be managed to ensure efficiency is maximised. This involves anticipating what strategies households and businesses will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero, and how these strategies can be supported by designing and managing these collection points in a way that makes ergonomic sense.

"It is important we manage and organise these water distribution points in a way that does not frustrate household or business strategies to access water as efficiently as possible. It is crucial that we spend the time to troubleshoot these water distribution points effectively. A City Disaster Risk Management team is dedicated to this task and is consulting widely to make sure that we can accurately anticipate all possible factors which will affect queue length, safety and health risks at the sites.

"If we want this disaster plan to be adopted with as little risk and inconvenience as possible, we need to look at the local context of each water distribution point. We need to build flexibility into the design of this plan to ensure that we can address any contingencies as they arise.

"In addition to looking at water provision and distribution, the plan will also focus on safety and security, health and sanitation, as well as mobilising communities to help us assist vulnerable groups and individuals," he said.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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