For the first time Cape Town Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson has issued a statement about the City of Cape Town’s dire water shortage situation, after taking over the responsibility for the water situation for the city, as well as its communication. Current Mayor Patricia de Lille has been suspended from all water-related issues and its communication! Sadly the Deputy Mayor has announced that water-saving measures are not meeting targets, and therefore Day Zero has been brought forward by nine days to 12 April, from 21 April previously! 

The full statement by Deputy Mayor Neilson is as follows:

STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE DEPUTY MAYOR, ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON

Non-water savers urged to join Team Cape Town water savers as Day Zero moves forward to 12 April 2018

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all Capetonians who have been redoubling their efforts to save water.

To those of you who are not yet part of the massive water-saving efforts that are under way in Cape Town, we urge you to join friends, neighbours, colleagues and Team Cape Town as a whole in beating back Day Zero.

Unfortunately, due to a drop in the dam levels of 1,4%, Day Zero has, as of today, moved forward to 12 April 2018.

However, it is still possible to push back Day Zero if we all stand together now and change our current path.

Now is the time to do so. We will not be getting second chances.

The City is making an enormous effort to delay Day Zero by rolling out aggressive pressure management operations across the city, installing thousands of water management devices on the properties of high users and ensuring that we better our record low overall water loss percentage of 16% (compared to the national average of 36%). Our average first response time to reported leaks and bursts is less than two hours.

Our desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects aimed at providing additional water are ongoing but will not provide sufficient supply to help us avoid Day Zero this year. They will, however, help us to become more resilient in weathering our next dry season.

Our main focus at this point must be on what we can do now to prevent our taps running dry by April. By joining us in our water-saving drive, you, your friends, neighbours, colleagues and social groups can help us to avoid Day Zero.

This week’s dashboard:

Dam levels 27,2% – 1,4% down
% of Cape Town saving 41%
Total usage 586 million litres per day 86 million above the target

From 1 February the critical threshold will be 450 million litres per day. Users will be required to use 50 litres per person per day for 150 days at least.

We are in the process of finalising our operational plan for Day Zero. Our Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan draws from international best practices, and decisions around the basic design and distribution of water collection points reflect what other cities around the world have implemented when faced with extreme drought conditions.

The Disaster Risk Management Department has been looking at how these water collection points can be managed to ensure efficiency is maximised. This involves anticipating what strategies households and businesses will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero, and how these strategies can be supported by designing and managing these collection points in a way that makes ergonomic sense.

It is important we manage and organise these water distribution points in a way that does not frustrate household or business strategies to access water as efficiently as possible. It is crucial that we spend the time to troubleshoot these water distribution points effectively. A City Disaster Risk Management team is dedicated to this task and is consulting widely to make sure that we can accurately anticipate all possible factors which will affect queue length, safety and health risks at the sites.

If we want this disaster plan to be adopted with as little risk and inconvenience as possible, we need to look at the local context of each water distribution point. We need to build flexibility into the design of this plan to ensure that we can address any contingencies as they arise.

In addition to looking at water provision and distribution, the plan will also focus on safety and security, health and sanitation, as well as mobilising communities to help us assist vulnerable groups and individuals.

A briefing on this plan will be arranged within the next 10 days’.

The Stellenbosch Municipality (which covers Stellenbosch and Franschhoek) has also announced water-saving restrictions from 1 February 2018 onwards, being at Level 6A, whereas Cape Town will implement Level 6B water restrictions from 1 February. The Stellenbosch municipal water restrictions are as follows, via Hospitality Hedonist: 

Stellenbosch Mayor: Level 6 Restrictions Now in Effect

In a lighter vein, some funny water-saving and Day Zero coping suggestions come from lead musician David Scott of band The Kiffness, seen via a link on Facebook: 

‘If you’re like me, you’ve probably never experienced any real hardship in life. Sure, it was difficult to deal with the bullies at my private junior school, but at least I had running water. Until now. Well, at least 90 days from now. While mothers across Constantia are enjoying their last baths, it’s time to face the truth. Cape Town is going to run out of water.

The panic in the air is as palpable as the stench of rotting sewers. But fear not, dear privileged Capetonians – because your boy Dave here has taken it upon himself to devise a bespoke survival plan tailored just for you. Sure, living in a city with no water means that there’ll most probably be outbreaks of cholera & other pretty chilled diseases. There’s also the imminent riots & extreme violence at water collection points which will make #FeesMustFall look like a church gathering.

But again I say – fear not! For privilege is the one of the few bath bubbles that cannot easily be popped. Bear Grylls step aside! No one’s drinking their own piss today. Here’s what you need to do to survive the drought, privileged Capetonian style:

1. Don’t wash your clothes.

No water means your washing machine isn’t going to work, and let’s be honest – washing your clothes in a bucket with “OMO handwash” is simply beneath you. So the solution is simple – toss your dirty laundry to the side & just buy new clothes. H&M are having mad sales at the moment, so stock up on fresh undies now while they’re reasonably priced (not that that matters).

2. Don’t wash your dishes.

No water means your dishwasher isn’t going to work either. And it could just be me but the last time I washed dishes by hand, it made me really sad. Being sad is not an option for me. The solution is simple – just order UberEats. I know you normally like to empty your Monks onto a plate and eat it with a knife and fork, but try to stay positive & see this as an opportunity to learn how to eat food with chopsticks out of a box. You never know when you might need to use chopsticks again. Probably never, but hey.

3. Don’t get your water from water collection points.

While everyone else is queuing for hours for a mere 50L at the collection points, you can use your privilege to skip the queues. Buy Valpré from Woolworths. If you’re slightly more middle class, then Bonaqua is also a viable option.

What most people don’t know is that Valpré is essentially Jo’burg tap water, so you can have as much of it as you want without feeling guilty. Want to have a bath? Have a Valpré bath. No one can judge you. Someone even suggested I try a sparkling water bath. I tried it once, but it was a bit too spicy for me. Did wonders for my hair though!

Anyway, while watching Carte Blanche last night I saw a Valpré ad that said their bottles are made partly from plants, so don’t feel bad about using 200 bottles for one bath – it’s green. Just make sure you get your supply from Woolies soon because on Thursday I saw a girl in her active wear buying 20 big bottles of water already. You should’ve seen the look on the cashier’s face.

I know the boot space in the new BMW SUV is phenom, but take your trailer too & make sure you rally up at least 2 car guards to help you carry. We don’t want you going to any unnecessary acupuncture appointments in these already trying times.

4. Don’t live in Cape Town.

In the event that the smell of rot & decay becomes too much to bear, there is a way out – you can move to Jo’burg. I’d like to stress however that this is the last resort. No Capetonian should ever move there by choice. But with that being said I grew up in Jo’burg & I can confirm that although it smells weird, it smells slightly better than the imminent smell of rotting faeces wafting through the streets of Claremont.

And don’t be shy to over stay your welcome. People from Jo’burg actually enjoy having strangers visiting. It’s strange I know but from my understanding it’s because they have no natural beauty, so if they weren’t friendly they’d all go mad.

Yes – you’ll probably miss the mountain, but Jo’burg isn’t so bad if you run yourself a bath‘.

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