Ever since the announcement that Cape Town was past the point of no return and Day Zero was unavoidable, Western Cape premier Helen Zille has been encouraging Capetonians in a series of tweets to take Day Zero seriously, if they are to avoid it.
"Save water as if your life depends on it. Because it does!"Helen Zille
For the next 150 days, Capetonians must push their daily water consumption to below 50 litres per person per day, which should be distributed like this:
50 litres per day:
Washing: 18 litres for dishes and laundry, 5 litres for a 90-second shower
Sanitation: 9 litres for one toilet flush, 3 litres for daily hygiene; brushing teeth, etc.
Consumption: 2 litres for cooking and drinking, 1 litre for your dog
But she did not stop there. Zille then tweeted various ways and methods that the City of Cape Town could save water, reminding people to save water "as if your life depended on it. Because it does!".
Here are some of her suggested methods to stave off Day Zero:
1. Never use fresh water to flush toilets
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
Zille urges residents to flush as little as possible – solid waste only, really.
2. Reuse water and never pour it down the drain
Washing a tomato for supper in a cup. I will use it for other fruit (nectarines and grapes) as well. Then the water left in the cup goes into the toilet cistern. Not down the drain. pic.twitter.com/3BIcqWgANH— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 23, 2018
Zille also suggests having buckets lined up to catch rainwater whenever it rains.
3. Use cold water, because warm water wastes
And here the water from my skottel bath goes straight into the toilet cistern. pic.twitter.com/MeO0vywW9e— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 24, 2018
This is me standing in my skottel to wash. It's amazing how little water one actually needs for a good scrub. The water is cold bcos waiting for warm wastes too much. pic.twitter.com/AJXG1Oh0CY— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 24, 2018
Capetonians have been responding positively to Zille by publishing videos of their own on how they save water.
It would seem Zille's advice is working, as water consumption has improved this week, compared to last week.
Thanks Cape Town! Water consumption has improved by dropping about 50-million litres per day compared with last week. However, we still have to drop about 100-million litres per day to prevent Day Zero. Please use less than 50 litres per person per day!— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 23, 2018
Zille and the city of Cape Town have warned residents who waste water that it will be levying penalties on heavy water users.
Zille believes that Day Zero can still be avoided "by the skin of our teeth", if every single resident saves water.