"Cape Town is past the point of no return and Day Zero is almost unavoidable." The reality has sunk in, as Western Cape premier Helen Zille admits that water use in Cape Town has increased again, forcing the city to prepare to implement Day Zero.
Despite Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille repeatedly appealing to residents to do more to save water, saying: "If we save water together, we can avoid Day Zero", the possibility has now turned into a probability, as the day when most of the city's taps are closed edges ever closer.
Cape Town's water use exceeded 600-million litres per day again last month, despite major efforts to reduce it. On current estimates, Day Zero will be implemented on April 21.
This means that municipal water supply to suburbs will be cut, and residents will have to queue at water-distribution points for water.The city will start announcing each area's local collection points from next week, so that communities can begin preparing for this eventuality.
HuffPost has compiled a guideline of survival tips for Day Zero (based on information released by the city of Cape Town):
- Day Zero will be implemented on April 21 (the city will turn off most taps, leaving only vital services with access to water).
More than 200 water-collection points will be set up in the municipality in preparation for the taps being shut off, at which 25 litres of water will be distributed per person for washing, cooking and personal use. Law enforcement, police and intergovernmental resources will be deployed at the sites.
- No filling up of swimming pools and no washing of cars will be allowed with municipal drinking water. Heavy water consumers will face penalties.
- Cape Town's daily water usage target has dropped to 450-million litres per day, so remember: if it's not number two, do not flush.
Keep up to five litres of water in storage in case of an emergency.
- As Cape Town enters level 6B restrictions, there is a new limit of 50 litres per person per day – to make up for the many months of missing the 500-million litres per day collective-consumption target. It will be in effect for 150 days from February 1.
- Zille feels that Day Zero can still be avoided "by the skin of our teeth", if every consumer cuts water usage down to a maximum of 50 litres per day. Illustrated below:
Water from Monday hair wash ready to go into the toilet cistern. No-one in Cape Town should be using fresh water to flush. Turn off the cistern tap. Fill it with grey water and flush as little as possible. pic.twitter.com/Sc90LLqnKs— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 22, 2018
The new daily collective-consumption target of 450-million litres per day amounts to 50 litres per person. Zille said: "The only way Cape Town can avoid Day Zero is if every single resident saves water."
Warning: Only 95 days to AVOID Day Zero! Dam levels are at 18,7% useable water and we are currently 118 million litres over our 500 million weekly target. The only way we can avoid Day Zero is by working together. #ThinkWaterCT https://t.co/Yj9ZUoU0UD pic.twitter.com/4TQdSPcH4v— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) January 17, 2018