Water-saving efforts have yielded good results by helping push back Day Zero in the City of Cape Town, authorities announced on Tuesday.
"Thanks to the water saving efforts of many Cape Town residents, I can confirm that we have begun to push back Day Zero, which is now April 16, 2018," opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said.
Day Zero refers to the time when dams supplying water to the city run dry, water taps are turned off and residents have to collect water at designated points.
The city, administered by the DA, previously announced April 21 as Day Zero and later changed the date to April 12.
"Pushing back Day Zero by 4 days may not seem like a lot. But actually it is a significant victory. It shows that residents are coming together and cutting water consumption," Maimane said.
The city says if the collective consumption of water, which is normally above 600 million litres per day, is put down below 450 million litres daily, Day Zero can be delayed or even defeated.
"We have managed to push back Day Zero by cutting consumption to an average of 580 million litres a day for the past week, and to 540 million litres a day for the past few days," Maimane said.
This is great progress, but to truly defeat Day Zero, Capetonians must cut consumption to 450 million litres a day, he said.
Currently, Capetonians are requested to use not more than 87 litres of water per person per day. But beginning from February 1, the allocation is reduced to 50 litres.
Maimane urged all residents to support the Defeat Day Zero campaign by cutting their consumption to below 50 litres per person per day.
"This is definitely possible with a bit of effort, and I am already getting my family down to 40 litres per person per day," he said.
With a population of about six million, Cape Town has been hit by the worst drought in history. If Day Zero arrives, the city would be the world's first metropolis to run out of water.
According to the latest data, dam levels for the city were 26.3 percent as of January 29, from 26.6 percent three days ago. When dam levels reach 13.5 percent, the water becomes unusable.
Maimane also announced that the city has secured an additional 67 million litres a day for a period of approximately 60 days, commencing in early February.
This is part of the 120-million-litre augmentation which the DA announced last week.
Speaking of mounting panic among Capetonians, Maimane said panic and hysteria are not helpful to the effort to defeat Day Zero.
"People should not be alarmed or panic when this happens, and should plan accordingly," he said.
He urged all residents, community leaders, religious leaders and the media to help in this cause and not contribute to any sense of panic.(2018-01-31 Xinhua)