Parts of Western Cape have reached Day Zero‚ says Gift of the Givers

Bottled water.
Bottled water.
Image: 123RF Stock Image/ Mark Agnor

Despite reports that the Western Cape was out of the danger zone‚ the Gift of the Givers has dispersed 120 tons of water from their Johannesburg offices to parts of the drought-stricken province‚ saying some rivers and dams were virtually dry.

"The Western Cape drought is serious. Many don't understand that as yet. Breede Valley‚ Drakenstein and neighbouring areas have reached Day Zero. There is NO drinking water‚" said Imtiaz Sooliman‚ founder of Gift of the Givers.

"At many schools the taps have run dry already. There is no water for toilets or for flushing. Requests for assistance are pouring in from multiple institutions throughout the Western Cape region and we are delivering as fast as we can‚" Sooliman said in a statement on Monday.

The group responded to urgent requests for water from the provincial disaster management team at the weekend. Four trucks left the Gift of the Givers offices in Bramley for the Western Cape on Monday morning and were expected to reach the dry areas by Tuesday.

The NGO said it planned to fill a further 42 shipping containers with bottled water from the Durban harbour and ship these to Cape Town on Tuesday.

The group is also assisting communities in drilling boreholes to try and alleviate the situation‚ adding that it needed funding to drill even more boreholes.

The consignment that left Johannesburg for Cape Town on Monday will be stored in various government facilities.

"Distribution has been taking place to many institutions desperately requesting water. In essence when supply can't meet demand then we are at Day Zero‚" Sooliman said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane last week said Cape Town would not hit Day Zero in 2018.

"I am happy to announce today that‚ provided we continue consuming water at current levels‚ and we receive decent winter rainfall this year‚ Day Zero will not occur in 2018. This means the taps will stay open in 2018‚" he said.

"Residents have responded magnificently... Everyone played their part in this city-wide collective effort to keep the taps open‚" said Maimane‚ who led the DA's #DefeatDayZero campaign after the party's City of Cape Town caucus voted that mayor Patricia de Lille should be relieved of the responsibility.

"The 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement‚ and outperforms many other cities across the world which faced severe droughts – including Sao Paulo‚ Melbourne‚ and the state of California."

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson had said the city council's latest estimate of Day Zero was July 15 but he later said it wasn't likely to arrive before November.

Zweli Mkhize announced that the water crisis in South Africa is a national disaster on March 13 2018. Here are some interventions the declaration will bring to drought-stricken provinces.