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Cape Town may avoid Day Zero: Maimane

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Cape Town may not see Day Zero – at least in 2018. That’s according to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, addressing media on Thursday afternoon on the current status of the drought in the Western Cape.

“Each week, the water consumption steadily dropped, and we were able to push back Day Zero by days, and then weeks, and then months. I am therefore happy to announce today that provided we continue consuming water at current levels, and we receive decent winter rainfall this year, Day Zero will not occur in 2018. This means the taps will stay open in 2018.”

Consumption now sits at between 510 and 520 million litres per day – down from almost 1.2 billion litres in February 2015. Maimane said the 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement, and outperforms many other cities across the world which faced severe droughts – including Sao Paulo, Melbourne, and the State of California.

“Just less than two months ago, the City of Cape Town was in a dire position. We were told that due to the worst drought the city had seen in over 100 years, its water supply was near depletion, and “Day Zero” – the day on which the taps would turn off – was set to arrive on 12 April 2018. We were facing an unprecedented crisis,” he explained.

“As Leader of the DA, I was not satisfied with the way the city had responded to the drought crisis up to that point. While the responsibility for bulk water supply is inarguably the responsibility of the National Government, residents of Cape Town rightly felt that their local government had not communicated openly with them. Many residents blamed the DA, and as Cape Town is a DA government, it was important that I intervened to ensure that residents received the level of service and honest government that they expect from the DA.

I therefore decided to take political control of the situation, appoint a Drought Crisis Team – made up of the individuals sitting on this panel today – and commit to doing everything possible to fight this water crisis, on all fronts.”

He said when the drought crisis team was established, dam levels were sitting at 27.2%, with only 17.2% of usable water left. But through mobilising public support, Capetonians cut consumption to record lows.

“Residents responded magnificently, rolled up their sleeves, and got stuck in. Individuals, families, communities, businesses, private dam owners and many others. Everyone played their part in this city-wide collective effort to keep the taps open,” 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.”

Maimane said he is confident that residents will not return to wasting water.

“There is a ‘new normal’ in the Western Cape around water use. We must continue in this current spirit of utmost respect for this precious natural resource, and never waste it.” VOC

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