06/02/2018 16:15 SAST | Updated 06/02/2018 16:15 SAST

Day Zero Projections: Cape Town Is Working Hard to Avoid It

Cape Town's deputy major says that consumers have reduced their water usage significantly; the city says they haven't. Which is it?

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If Capetonians continue their reduction of urban water usage, then further Day Zero postponements can be achieved, Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Monday.

Speaking to Huffpost, Neilson said the shifts in Day Zero projections depend on circumstances as they change, but he does not foresee Day Zero being shifted to an earlier date.

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"If we [continue to] get the urban consumption reduced, Day Zero could [recede] further into the future," Neilson said. "It's therefore not a probability that we would see a shift back again."

On Monday, Cape Town announced that residents may have to start queueing for water in mid-May, rather than April 16, due to a decline in agricultural usage.

But the city still maintains that there has not been any "significant decline in the urban usage".

Which is odd, because Neilson said: "Cape Town has done so well in terms of getting consumptions down... They have gone to below 600-million litres a day – so we have halved consumption in the city."

With the amount of water still in the dams, the city still needs to get its water levels even lower, which is why there is now a newly set target of 450-million litres of collective usage per day.

Neilson added that every bit of rain the city gets would assist with the situation.

READ:Doomsday: When Day Zero Arrives💧

According to Cape Town weather service forecaster Michael Barnes, the city is expected to have between 5mm and 10mm of rain this weekend, but that would not end the city's woes, as it would probably make no difference to the dam levels.

"The rain could be more around the 20mm mark around the most mountainous areas, including the Cape winelands and up the west coast," Barnes said.

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"Projections that we make are on the basis that there is no rainfall – [if there were] rainful, that would be great news – but until we get right into the winter and there are heavy rainfalls, only then can we consider cutting back on restrictions. At this stage we are going to have to keep the heavy restrictions right [into the] winter months, " Neilson said.

As of February 1, Cape Town introduced level 6B water restrictions, and increased tariffs have come into effect to help finance water services and reduce usage.