Day Zero pushed back by summer rain

The summer rain seemed to push back Day Zero – the day Cape Town’s dams reach 13.8 % – from May 6 until May 20 next year.

However, the City warned that if the consumption trends for the week continue, it poses a danger of bringing Day Zero forward again.

On Tuesday, Mayor Patricia de Lille said the unseasonal rain has saved Day Zero this week only.

“Usually without rain, the dam levels would drop by as much as 1% per week. If it wasn’t for this rain, Day Zero would have come rushing forward by another fortnight due to the alarmingly high consumption.”

She said a dashboard is available on the City’s website and will be updated every week with information such as dam levels, water consumption and the City’s progress with augmentation projects. The dashboard serves as a weekly reminder that Capetonians cannot relax water-saving efforts, even when there is rain.

This week, the statistics show:

This week’s dam levels stand at 36.1% – down from 36.2% last week.

Collective consumption has increased to 631 million litres per day.

The percentage of households using less than 87 litres per day: 36% (down from 44% last week). In terms of the City’ progress with its augmentation projects, this figure stands at 48%.

She said together, these factors put Day Zero at May 20. “Day Zero has moved back from being at May 6 last week. This change is attributed entirely to the rain-fall.

“It must be emphasised that an increase in consumption moves Day Zero forward. It is crucial that everyone does more to save so that we can reach the target of 500 million litres per day and move Day Zero even further back.”

She said while the City is thankful to the many residents who have been saving water, the new weekly water dashboard shows that there are still many residents who are not doing enough to comply with the target of 87 litres per person per day.

This affects Day Zero when most taps will be turned off and residents have to queue for water from collection sites across the city.

“While residents save, we will continue working harder to bring additional supply online as quickly as possible,” she said. “The immediate need is to reduce collective water usage to 500 million litres per day for Cape Town so that dam levels will drop more slowly and provide water throughout the summer season.”

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