World Watches as Clock Ticks for Cape Town. Planet's First Major City to Face Water Supply “Day Zero”. 

1 Feb 2018 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
CAPE TOWN, South Africa

Day Zero, initially projected for Sunday 21 April 2018 was confirmed by the city last week to have come forward 9 days, to Thursday 12 April 2018. As of the date of this article (1 February, 2018), Cape Town has 70 days before the taps are shut off.

A critical water shortages disaster plan is being implemented by Cape Town authorities in a phased approach depending on severity of the water supply shortage (READ FULL STORY HERE).

From Today (1 February)

New water restrictions (Level 6B) have been brought into effect. All residents are now required to use no more than 50 liters of municipal drinking water per person per day in total irrespective of whether at home, work or elsewhere. A typical shower uses 15 litres per minute while a standard toilet consumes 15 liters per flush, according to WaterWise, a South African water usage awareness campaign.

Commercial and industrial properties, schools, clubs and institutions must ensure that their monthly consumption of municipal drinking water is reduced by 45% compared to the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought), while agricultural users must ensure that their monthly consumption of municipal drinking water is reduced by 60% compared to the corresponding period in 2015 (pre-drought).

On Day Zero

At 13.5% dam storage, “Day Zero”, the city will turn off almost all the taps.

The city has told its 4 million residents that while some key areas will be prioritized to stay connected, these will be limited. Areas that will stay connected will include the majority of densely populated informal settlements.

From Day Zero about 20,000 people will be able to collect water at each of about 200 distribution sites per day; residents will be able to collect approximately 25 liters per person per day in line with a World Health Organization recommendation; law enforcement, police and intergovernmental resources will be deployed to ensure safety.

South Africa and World Media Interest Intensifies:

Eyewitness News: “Nobody will be turned away from a collection site, nobody will have to like produce any kind of proof of identification or anything. Some of the collection sites have up to 600 taps so they will move swiftly and they will move well. They will have extensive security; it will be the safest part of your community around those pods”.

The Citizen: “Tensions are mounting at a natural spring in Cape Town that is popular with residents forced to contend with water restrictions due to severe drought, the city council said Wednesday. A fight broke out and one person was arrested by police earlier in the week in long queues at the Newland spring, southeast of the city center, and local residents have complained of traffic gridlock”.

News24: “Schools will not close if Cape Town reaches Day Zero, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Wednesday. "Whatever happens, we intend to keep schools open," Zille said at a mass meeting of school principals and education officials in Kuils River, Cape Town”.

Mail and Guardian: “Due to the marked income inequality in the City, Cape Town’s water crisis poses a possible threat to social order, according to a report released by Moody’s Investors Service on Monday. The City of Cape Town is currently rated Baa3 – the lowest level of investment grade, and is on review for a downgrade. The report deems the water supply crisis to be credit negative for Cape Town. Moody’s emphasized that the latest research report was not, however, a rating action.

Times Live: “Chemical toilets in the basement‚ hauling your own water to the office and working in shifts so staff get time to queue at water collection points. These are some of the interventions being planned by businesses in Cape Town to keep their doors open after Day Zero. Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said on Wednesday that the general consensus among city businesses was that there had been “too much water politicking and too little sound planning””.

NASA: “The animated image at the top of the page shows how dramatically Theewaterskloof has been depleted between January 2014 and January 2018. The extent of the reservoir is shown with blue; non-water areas have been masked with gray in order to make it easier to distinguish how the reservoir has changed. Theewaterskloof was near full capacity in 2014. During the preceding year, the weather station at Cape Town airport tallied 682 millimeters (27 inches) of rain (515 mm is normal), making it one of the wettest years in decades. However, rains faltered in 2015, with just 325 mm falling. The next year, with 221 mm, was even worse. In 2017, the station recorded just 157 mm of rain”.

Business Tech: “The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry says it plans to write to the minister of trade and industry and the National Consumer Commissioner (NCC) to ask them to rein in unscrupulous traders who have increased the price of bottled water to benefit from the ongoing water crisis in Cape Town”.

Times Live: “The Muslim Judicial Council has encouraged Muslims to steer clear of free water that will be distributed in beer bottles by South African Breweries. The faith-based organization denied reports that it had declared the SAB water not halaal‚ adding it was investigating what to do when taps run dry on Day Zero”.

Reuters: “Drought-stricken Cape Town could run out of water as soon as April, but South Africa is not alone in its struggle as ever more world cities battle acute water shortages”. The article goes on to identify other cities at risk including Melbourne, Sao Paolo, Lima, Amman, Mexico City, Kabul.

The Herald (Zimbabwe): “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed a (South African Development Community) SADC Integrated Water Resource Management initiative in vulnerable areas in Southern Africa. The project will cater for long-term resilience building to climate variability and climate change on water resources”.

Pretoria East Rekord: Morbid jokes, pictures, videos, memes on Cape Town water crisis.

The OOSKAnews editorial and media monitoring teams will continue to bring readers regular coverage of the Cape Town water crisis.