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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

Today, as part of my commitment to communicate with residents and manage the drought, we are launching a new weekly water dashboard which will tell us how we’re all doing in our efforts to avoid Day Zero.

The dashboard will be released weekly to the media and it will be available on our website and the City’s social media channels.

Last Thursday I updated the media and the public to say that Day Zero is when we reach 13,5% dam storage and a week ago that date was 13 May 2018. At the time, consumption was 582 million litres per day.

While the good water-saving efforts had pushed this date out from March 2018, many residents took this as a sign that there was some reprieve.

Day Zero has now moved forward to 6 May 2018 due to consumption increasing to 602 million litres of water per day this past week. At the same time, no new water has come online as this is only due from February onwards.

This is the impact of our actions, when people use more water and if we stay in this region of 600 million litres of water per day, we are moving Day Zero forward. The point of the 500 million collective use per day target is so that we move Day Zero further away.

Day Zero is the stark reality we face when most taps will be turned off and residents will have to queue for water at approximately 200 collection sites across the city.

This is a clear warning to all of us that we cannot let up on our efforts and even though we received some welcome rains this week, again we cannot use this as a trigger to relax our water-saving efforts.

Starting today, I will be releasing the Water Dashboard so that we can all track our actions and see the weekly monitoring and management of Day Zero.

As I have said before, Capetonians have done very well to save water, but not everyone is doing their part and many residents are not sticking to the target of 87 litres per person per day.

I also said that while residents save, we will work on our range of plans to bring additional supply online. We are working around the clock to make this happen. A water augmentation plan of this scale has never been done before, but we are committed to bringing additional supply online as fast as possible.

We are on track with our first set of augmentation plans: the first seven projects. These are Monwabisi, Strandfontein, the V&A Waterfront, and Cape Town Harbour desalination plants; the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects; and the Zandvliet water recycling project that will collectively produce an additional 196 million litres per day between February and July 2018. In addition, we have 12 projects in the advanced stage of planning that are ready to proceed if required.

Day Zero can only be avoided if we work together in partnership. Savings and additional water supply projects go hand in hand.

The weekly Water Dashboard will work as follows:
1. First, it will show the City’s augmentation plan progress
2. Secondly, it will track the dam behaviour
3. Thirdly, it will track our collective consumption

Together, these factors ultimately influence Day Zero and whatever we do affects this date. This will be a live management tool to hold us all accountable.

These figures jointly contribute to the probability of Day Zero when dam levels reach 13,5%.

This is the point that water supply will be cut to large parts of the city to ensure that a lifeline water supply is available until the dam storage stabilises with the onset of winter rains.

This dashboard will be published in the interest of transparency and to ensure that the City and residents keep up our respective responsibilities in this partnership to beat the drought crisis and avoid Day Zero.

It must be noted that when looking at the dams versus our consumption, the City of Cape Town is not the only user of the Western Cape Water Supply System and therefore we are not the only influencer of the weekly draw-down rate of the dams.

Other factors which influence the dam level behaviour are rainfall, agricultural use, other municipalities’ use, evaporation, and transfers from other catchments.

The City of Cape Town is responsible for approximately 64% of the dam draw-down on an annual basis. The City has no control over the other 46% of dam usage.

The immediate need is to reduce water use to 500 million litres per day for Cape Town so that dam levels will drop more slowly and provide water throughout the summer season.

This dashboard serves as a visual reminder that we are all in this together. The City needs residents to save while we bring additional supply online. It cannot work in any other way. We cannot allow a little rain or additional water from alternative sources to change our water-saving behaviour. If it does, the risk will only increase.

My appeal to Capetonians is to remember that we are in for a long, dry summer and it will be many months before we see what rains we get. Evaporation plays a big role at this time so saving is a must, Team Cape Town. Let’s work together to beat the drought.

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