Cape Town likely to avoid Day Zero crisis
It took near panic to get Cape Town residents to slash water consumption by more than half‚ but it worked. The dreaded Day Zero will not come this year.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane told a media conference on Wednesday the City of Cape Town would even consider relaxing water restrictions from level 6b to level 5‚ depending on the winter rainfall.
Maimane and Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson pleaded with residents to stick to the 50-litre-a-day restrictions‚ and Western Cape premier Helen Zille said if the Western Cape experienced a fourth year of drought‚ the situation “would be very serious indeed”.
For now‚ though‚ it seems the city is successfully navigating its worst drought. Said Maimane: “The significance of this effort cannot be overstated. The sustained dedication and fortitude of all residents is the primary reason for this. You are all Day Zero heroes.”
A prevailing high pressure system — the same type of weather system that caused the extreme dry and hot conditions which led to the formation of the Great Karoo — has shifted southwards and experts believe Cape Town‚ like many other Mediterranean-climate cities around the world‚ is becoming a desert.
The MEC for local government‚ environmental affairs‚ and development planning‚ Anton Bredell‚ said the future was daunting but exciting.
“ ‘How are we going to reach sustainable cities?’ is a critical question which every mayor has to answer for themselves now‚” he said.
“We had an energy crisis‚ now we’re in a water crisis‚ the next crisis is a garbage crisis. How do we get ahead of this wave of crises? The answer is good planning‚ investing in our engineering sectors‚ because we are going to have to start thinking differently about these things.”
Several municipalities had faced water crises recently‚ including Mossel Bay in the southern Cape‚ which almost ran out of water in 2010.
“But now that it hit a city‚ suddenly people got the message that the resource is under pressure and the resource is limited. Previously we couldn’t get that message across‚” said Bredell.Read More...