Authorities in drought-stricken Cape Town have told residents that it is “now likely” that water supplies will be cut because of dwindling levels in dams serving the country’s second largest metropolis.
Cape Town will impose tighter water restrictions starting on 1 February, limiting each resident to 50l a day, compared to 85l now, it said in a statement Thursday. Authorities said earlier this week that they currently estimate “Day Zero”, the date when the city estimates it will have to cut off supplies to consumers, to be 21 April.
The city has “reached a point of no return”, with about 60% of residents failing to meet existing curbs on water use, it said. The new limit will be in place for 150 days and then reviewed. Major dams in the Western Cape province that supply the city have dropped to 28.7% of capacity compared to 43% a year ago and 93% in 2014, figures on the city’s website show.
“It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero,” the city’s media office said in a statement. Many of the city’s four million residents are “callously” using too much water, it said.
Consumption was 618m liters a day last week, compared to the target of 500m set by authorities. January, February and March are typically among the driest of the year in the city, which usually gets its heaviest rainfall in June, July and August.
Cape Town’s CBD will be excluded from the “Day Zero” measures to reduce harm to the local economy, as will areas of informal housing that lack standard city services. City lawmakers will vote Friday on plans to impose increased charges for water of as much as seven times for the heaviest users. — Reported by John Viljoen, with assistance from Robert Brand, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP