JOHANNESBURG - Cape Town’s Day Zero is fast approaching and the city has announced that April 16 would be the day taps run dry.
City officials have warned that dam levels are so low that if residents do not reduce their water consumption, Cape Town will become the first city in the world to run out of water.
Day Zero was earlier announced to be April 12 but pushed back to April 16.
Cape Town's MMC for Safety and Security JP Smith explained how Day Zero is calculated.
“So Day Zero is a composite calculation based on the amount of water in the dams collectively over the series of dams - the average of that. And the consumption rate of residents in the city at the moment and obviously that is influenced by factors like whether agriculture is still drawing down water and the tempo of evaporation and the amount of wind that is being experienced - both of those are aggravating factors.
"So if the current trends continue we will see a Day Zero earlier than we would like to.”
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The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) agreed with the city about how Day Zero is studied.
“It’s a simple calculation that takes into account how much water is left in storage in the dams and then it looks at the three major losses from that storage in the dams.
"So those are the consumption by the city and by the other smaller towns like Stellenbosch and Drakenstein, consumption by agriculture and then also the loses due to evaporation. And it extrapolates how much water has been consumed and used (and) lost through those three uses in the previous week. It extrapolates how long is the water that’s left in storage going to last," said WWF SA's Christine Colvin.
Residents, however, remain angry with the local, provincial and national government for how they have managed the water crisis.
The city has cut water use to 50 litres per person per day from February and on Day Zero, residents would be forced to queue for 25 litres of water at 200 collection points around the city.
Officials said if everyone respects water restrictions, the city can avoid Day Zero.