Cape Town tries to avoid "Day Zero"

Former Leader of the Democratic Alliance Tony Leon talks to delegates 10 May 2015 at the Boardwalk conference centre in Port Elizabeth during the DA federal Conference

54% of Cape Town water users are saving water to avoid Day Zero but the city needs everyone on board to avoid the prospect of queuing daily for an allocation of 25 litres per person.

"I will personally fight to ensure that the proposed punitive tariff exempts those who are using less than 6,000 litres per month", De Lille said.

This comes as a replacement for the proposed drought charge, which will now be dropped.

Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille said explaining the alarming situation "We're losing 1 percent of our dams, 1.5 every week".

Struggling to cope with its worst drought in a century, Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city and a major tourist hub, last cut water consumption targets in October but its mayor said on Wednesday that too few residents were paying them any heed. Level 6B restrictions will also limit irrigation using boreholes and well points.

The authorities have launched a trial water collection site, similar to an estimated 200 the city may introduce, where people queue between metal fences waiting to fill up containers from standpipes.

"Our teams are also significantly intensifying the leak detection and fix programme, and we are rolling out education and awareness campaigns and extending our use of the treated effluent system which offsets the use of the drinking water for non-potable purposes".

The municipality urged residents to reduce their household consumption within the water restriction limits. They were also "working around the clock" to deliver emergency plans for desalination, groundwater and more treated water.

Recognising the potentially massive impact on business and industry, Limberg said the city would attempt to keep water flowing in the CBD area, where many businesses are located.

This, as detailed plans for the "eventuality" of the City's Day Zero contingency plans will be released next week.

Only vital services, such as hospitals and clinics, would be allowed to continue their existing water supply after Day Zero.

Many businesses will not be able to operate unless they can provide temporary (off-mains) toilets and drinking water.

As the drought worsens, the city is expected to turn taps off in April.

"The amount in the dams will take months to recover".

Cape Town City are not yet done in the January transfer window, according to their chairman John Comitis.

This lack of rain over a three year period would challenge even the best planned water regulators.

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