Some may question the wisdom of the announcement last week that Day Zero has been moved out to 2019, in its potential effect on water saving by Capetonians, in them becoming more lax about reducing their water usage, given that the target of 450 million liters per day has not yet been reached. But the city’s water consumption is declining steadily, a positive achievement in itself!
STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE DEPUTY MAYOR, ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON
World notes Cape Town’s efforts to beat the drought
The City of Cape Town and its residents have achieved a new water usage milestone. As at Monday 12 March 2018, we used 511 million litres as a city, nudging us ever-closer to the target of 450 million litres per day which is required to help stretch our water supplies in the face of unpredictable climatic conditions. Read more below:
Our commendable water usage is increasingly recognised as a phenomenal achievement across the world. Thanks to this effort our dam levels are declining at a lower weekly rate. This is helping us to preserve our dwindling water resources. Dams supplying the City have declined by 0,6% to 23%. Please see our latest water dashboard (http://coct.co/water-dashboard/).
Although the potential for Day Zero has been moved to next year, the drought is still very real and the associated threat to water supply remains a reality.
We therefore welcome today’s decision by the National Government to declare a national state of disaster as a result of the drought.
As a City we are still required by the National Government to reduce water usage to 450 million litres per day. Judging from the mind-blowing achievements of our water users thus far, I am confident that we can get our water usage down further.
Just months ago we were, at times, labelled by international media and commentators as one of the first large cities in the world to possibly run out of water. However, this narrative is changing as the world sees what Team Cape Town has achieved thus far.
Not only have we fought back to avert an unprecedented crisis, we are also setting the benchmarks for water saving across the globe. We have more than halved our water usage in the past two years, and our usage per person is now among the lowest in the world for a metropolitan area.
We have reached 511 million litres per day through sheer water-saving determination; through initiatives such as advanced pressure management; the installation of almost 37 500 water management devices at the properties of high water users; our unrelenting communication efforts; and proactively implementing advanced water restrictions and associated tariffs to help change behaviour.
It is important that we keep our focus. Our efforts should not be derailed by groups who try to sway public opinion through misinformation for their own narrow interests.
Let’s keep saving, Team Cape Town.
Water myth busting:
Day Zero/the water crisis is/was a myth • The potential for a Day Zero is and never was a myth. We conservatively projected it based on the actual rate of fall in dam levels. As irrigation and urban usage has reduced, so too has the rate of fall reduced and our Day Zero projection moved out. This was communicated transparently and honestly. The data on which these projections were made is independently available from the national Department of Water and Sanitation and is published in local newspapers.
• The City would never jeopardise this city and its residents, businesses and economy unnecessarily by faking a Day Zero projection just as a scare tactic.
• The water crisis is real. Just have a look at our dams to get the correct picture.
• The crisis puts the City’s water income into a deficit. We would not deliberately fail to sell water if we had more to sell, as that would provide more income than increasing tariffs.
Level 6 restrictions and tariffs are no longer needed because Day Zero has moved out. • We have to keep the restrictions in place. It is the low consumption that prevents us reaching Day Zero this year.
City is acting illegally with the installation of Water Management Devices for high water users • The Water By-law and a Council-approved directive empowers the City to install water management devices at the properties of high water users. It is a legal action which has also helped us to avert Day Zero. In terms of metering, these devices are SABS approved. They are installed across the city as every suburb has high users. High users receive a warning and a chance to correct behaviour, or to approach the City if there are many occupants on a property. Any action to prevent the legal installation of water management devices is illegal. The City will not tolerate actions that intimidate our officials, or contractors, or interfere with the execution of their legal duties.
Please visit www.capetown.gov/thinkwater for all water-related information, including Level 6B restrictions and FAQs about Day Zero as well as tips to lower usage even further.
Also visit www.capetown.gov.za/watermap to see if your household is painting the city green to avoid Day Zero.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein