It has been dubbed "the worst drought in a century", a drought the department of water and sanitation says it "unfortunately never predicted or anticipated". Now the city of Cape Town will be doing all it can to manage the impending disaster of Day Zero.
According to TimesLive, Western Cape premier Helen Zille said the challenge [Day Zero] is greater than World War 2 or the aftermath of 9/11 in New York. Day Zero is a slowly looming doomsday that Cape Town will have to deal with.
The severity of the water crisis in Cape Town has meant that Day Zero has been moved forward to April 12 – the date on which most of the city's taps will be closed until the dams refill to a high enough level for them to be turned back on.
Day Zero is looming. Watch the video to find out what will happen if we reach Day Zero and what the City has been doing to prevent it. Thank you to residents who have been saving water where they can. Together, we can #ThinkWaterCT and avoid Day Zero. pic.twitter.com/SiRn19c0nd— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) January 17, 2018
The city management gave HuffPost the rundown on the operations and procedures for Day Zero.
How long will Day Zero last?
Day Zero is not just one day. It could be a week, or it could be as long as three months. Once Day Zero hits, taps will remain off until the dam levels have recovered to a safe operating level, which is dependent on the level of winter rainfall the area receives.
According to JP Smith, the city has confirmed 149 water points so far. It had earlier said there would be 200 collection points – however, some of the sites were not viable after assessments. The city is designing the sites to be both vehicle and pedestrian-friendly, so that people can collect water in their cars or on foot.
Water is free
Nobody will have to pay for water at the distribution points. You will collect your water free. No identification will be required, as it will slow down the process.
Law enforcement agencies, including the metro police, as well as disaster management and the fire department, will be on site. There will also be first aid and emergency personnel. The South African National Defence Force and South African Police Service have committed their resources to the sites.
A dedicated container is needed for the collection of drinking water – clearly labelled "drinking water"
- If possible, use hard plastic containers that can be sealed and are durable;
- This container should not have been used previously for the storage of harmful substances such as cleaning detergents or pesticides;
- It is important that people make or purchase a container that allows for running water for hand washing.
No reserve water
The quantity of 25 litres per person per day is in line with the World Health Organisation's recommendation and our Constitution. How residents use their allocation is up to them, and there will be no reserve water.
Water will be delivered to those who cannot fetch it
People who simply cannot come for water collection, such as those in old-age homes, have been promised that the city will make arrangements to deliver it via tankers. However, those who can collect water have been urged by the city to use the collection points, as resources to deliver water are scarce.
Water collection hours
If water collection sites needs to run later, they will. The city will run the sites the way it runs the beaches during December holidays; the person in charge of the site will make a call on when the site is quiet enough to be closed every day.
Do not waste water
SAPS and city law enforcement are enforcing the by-laws and legislation, and laying charges against transgressors. City law enforcement and other departments are carrying out regular water blitz operations, focussed on clamping down on transgressions of the water by-law.
How can Cape Town avoid Day Zero?
Day Zero might be avoided if all Cape Town residents join the savings drive and bring their daily use down to 50 litres per person per day immediately.