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Day Zero pushed back to June 4

An example of a water distribution point.
An example of a water distribution point.
Image: City of Cape Town

Capetonians can breathe a sigh of relief. Day Zero has been pushed back to June 4.

On Tuesday‚ city officials attributed the push-back of Day Zero from the middle of May to the decline in water usage by the agricultural sector and also the continued commitment by residents who have significantly lowered their water consumption.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson urged residents to continue lowering their water consumption to meet the target of 450 million litres of water a day which equates to 50 litres per individual per day

“Over the past week‚ consumption has been lowered to 526 million litres per day. This is the first time that the weekly average usage has remained under 550 million litres due to the City’s pressure management interventions and the efforts by our residents to use as little water as possible” said Neilson.

Neilson‚ however‚ said dam levels were significantly lower at 24.9% in comparison to last year at this time when it was 36.1% and the previous year when it was 43.3%.

“Though the dam levels are much lower than a year ago‚ we have more information and more control over the system that supplies water to the city. Our continued interactions with the National Department of Water and Sanitation have led to much improved data-sharing and analysis‚ allowing for more reliable modelling and dramatically improved control over dam levels.”

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane tweeted on Tuesday: “I can officially announce that #DayZero has been pushed back to 4 June 2018! Thanks to the efforts of Cape Town residents‚ consumption dropped to 526 million litres per day. Let's keep reducing consumption. We can #DefeatDayZero!”

“This is the first time that weekly average usage has remained under 550 million litres! A year ago‚ consumption was at over 800 million litres per day. Two years ago‚ it was over one billion litres per day‚” Maimane said on Twitter.

The drought and the subsequent water crisis that the province has been experiencing for the past few years has brought an overall change in the way Capetonians consume water.

Two years‚ one billion litres of water was used per day collectively. A year ago 830 million litres of water was consumed collectively by the city.

‘It is absolutely clear that when we need to pull together in this city‚ we can do so. If we continue to work as a team to lower our consumption to 450 million litres per day as required‚ we will become known as one of the most resilient cities in the world. We are fast becoming a leading example of a large city that is fundamentally changing its relationship with water‚” Neilson said.

“We are very grateful to the farming sector‚ especially associations such as the Groenland Water Users’ Association for their water transfer to the Steenbras dam‚ and to the National Department of Water and Sanitation for facilitating this supply injection. In accepting this transfer‚ we acknowledge the sacrifices that many in the farming sector have made during this extreme drought.”

Neilson said the city will continue to lower pressure and install water management devices for high water users. The water blitzes that Law Enforcement has been conducting will also continue.

“We must all keep doing absolutely everything in our power to reach the target set by the National Department to reduce our urban usage by 45%. Level 6b restrictions make it compulsory for residents to use no more than 50 litres per person per day to stretch our dwindling supplies through summer and into the winter months and thereby avoid the drastic step of having to queue for water.”

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