Drought-stricken Cape Town’s Day Zero move to July

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CAPE TOWN, February 20 – The City of Cape Town on Tuesday announced that Day Zero, when the city’s taps run dry, has been pushed back to July 9.

Previously, Day Zero had been moved back from early April to June 4.

The City said the latest adjustment was due to weekly drop-in dam levels of only 0.5%, as compared to a 1.9% weekly drop in 2014.

“This week’s lower rate of consumption can be attributed to the Groenland water reaching Steenbras upper dam last week and slightly increasing the dam level, as well as to a further reduction in Cape Town’s weekly average demand to 523 megalitres per day (MLD), compared to 1 130 MLD in 2014,” said deputy mayor Ian Neilson in a statement.

Cape Town and other areas of the Western Cape are in the grips of a devastating drought which has led to the implementation of severe water restrictions.

The deputy mayor added that the Groenland water transfer and the reduction in the city’s weekly average demand have had a dramatic impact on the Day Zero date, which is determined by assuming that the fortnightly trend of weekly dam storage change will continue unchanged.

“This precautionary outlook assumes no further rainfall and that water demand may not reduce over the next few months. It has been adopted to allow sufficient lead time for implementation of temporary water collection points in the event that these may be required.

“We anticipate that Day Zero could move back into June again once the Groenland transfer has been completed unless we are able to meet the 450 MLD collective water usage target. Therefore it is imperative that we reach this target to make it through to the winter rains,” said Neilson.

He further urged residents of Cape Town not to ease up on their water-saving efforts. “We cannot afford to slow down when the estimated Day Zero date moves out, simply because we cannot accurately predict the volume of rainfall still to come or when it will come. Last year we had abnormally low winter rainfall, and we cannot assume that this year will be any different. The only way we can stretch our water supplies is to adhere to the 50 litres per person per day water allocation. Our water saving efforts across the metro have thus far been our greatest defence against Day Zero. Now is definitely not the time to ease up.

“We once again want to thank the Groenland Water Users Farming Association for the water transfer, which made a considerable difference when we needed it most,” added Neilson.

– African News Agency (ANA)