Day Zero’ – the day on which Cape Town will run out of water unless consumption is curbed further – has been extended from March to May 2018. Confusing is that the date of Day Zero varies within May, but a discussion on Kfm highlighted that the water usage in Cape Town increased since the postponement of ‘Day Zero’ to May, which could move ‘Day Zero’ back to April! Tourist arrivals and their water usage in our Summer Season is a grave concern to Capetonians. 

Currently Cape Town is using about 582 million litres a day, 82 million litres above the daily target, a reduction from the initial consumption of about 700 million litres a day, since the concept of ‘Day Zero’ was introduced.

Business Day has reported that Mayor Patricia de Lille has said that reducing water usage is still the greatest factor in avoiding ‘Day Zero’. ‘Unless we reduce demand to 500 million litres per day, there is a risk that we will reach ‘Day Zero’ in May 2018. ‘Day Zero’ would be later if it rained, but because we cannot accurately predict how much rain we will receive, we have to ensure that we reduce demand sufficiently. The reduction in demand has caused a drop of about 40% in the income the city derives from water sales. This makes it that much more difficult to fund augmentation measures,” De Lille said. “To overcome this — and as temporary measure — the city is considering a transitional levy.’

At the launch of the Water Awareness campaign on Church Square on Monday, Mayor de Lille announced that the water levy is not on the cards at this point of time, despite the drop of income to the City of Cape Town coffers.

According to Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, ‘Potential tourists should know that the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government are doing everything in their power to mitigate the challenges faced by the ongoing drought in the region. From a tourism perspective, it is important to realise that despite Cape Town being a popular destination, foreign tourists only make up on average 1% of the population of the Western Cape province at any given time, and total tourists (foreign and local) constitute only 3,4% of the total provincial population on the busiest days’

Tourists have been asked to be aware of the current water crisis facing the city and province, and to follow the City of Cape Town water saving guidelines communicated to locals.

We need the help of all visitors to conserve this precious resource. There may be a moderate impact on visitor experience should facilities such as swimming pools and steam rooms be closed. We ask for our visitors’ understanding and reiterate that we will consistently do all we can to offer excellent experiences as a world-class destination’, added Duminy.

Tourists may be impacted by the following water saving measures at their accommodation facilities in the Cape:

· Swimming pools may be closed

· Steam rooms and saunas may be closed

· Bath plugs may be removed

· Gardens and lawns may not be watered

Tourists have been advised to assist in saving water as follows:

· Limit shower time to under two minutes

· Close the tap when brushing teeth

· Reuse towels instead of asking for a new one every day

· Report leaks or dripping taps

Tourism is an essential part of the economy in Cape Town, providing full-time work for 38 838 people and temporary jobs for 15 489 [2014]. Besides employment, the tourism sector contributes greatly to the economy. Maintaining growth in the sector involves implementing strategies geared towards all aspects of sustainability in tourism. These include employment, nurturing and protecting the natural environment and resources, and ensuring that the built environment takes into account energy and resource-efficient practices and accessibility for all’, Duminy concluded.

Water saving requests are visible in the Domestic and International Arrivals Halls at Cape Town International. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein