Water crisis: Cape Town imposes ever-stricter rules on New Year’s Day
In Cape Town, the water crisis isn’t getting any better – and on New Year’s Day, the city of 4 million people will go to new Level 6 water restrictions.
That means a 60 percent reduction in water use for agricultural operations, and a 45 percent reduction for urban businesses when compared with their water usage levels in 2015, among other rules.
“The daily water usage limit will remain at 87 liters (23 gallons) per person per day, wherever you are, unless targets continue to be missed as is currently the case,” said Patricia de Lille, the city’s mayor. “We would then consider lowering usage targets further in an effort to adhere to these new restrictions and also to avoid Day Zero when most of our taps will run dry.”
The city relies on an extensive dam and reservoir system that has seen no rains to replenish it for three years. As of Friday, system storage was at 31.4 percent, but the actual usable water is always 10 percent less than what is in the reservoirs. Cape Town leaders are watching and planning for a worst-case scenario.
That Day Zero, according to officials, is now targeted for the end of April, as officials scramble for alternatives including desalination processing. Many households, with an average of three people, are doing a good job with strict conservation but some are using up to five times as much as the threshold. Cape Town is looking at installing water flow governors for repeat offenders, with fines and even jail time for those who refuse to comply.
“Our hot and dry summer is here. We are not going to be given many more chances to really reduce our water usage. We have to do it now,” the mayor said, urging people to adopt the latest round of tighter restrictions. “There are so many water users who have done a superb job to cut their water usage. Those who have not done so continue to place us all in danger.”
To view the City of Cape Town water crisis disaster plan, see this link.
Image: City of Cape Town file