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Western Cape

The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape, welcomes yesterday’s (31 January 2018) announcement by Premier Helen Zille that water will be provided to schools, in areas which are most affected by the drought.

I am pleased that the Premier has given this assurance, as it will ensure that our centres of learning will continue to operate without any interruptions. Furthermore, the additional facilities to source, store and use augmented water supplies, demonstrates the DA-led government’s commitment to our learners and educators, in the face of the current water crisis.

I would like to urge all schools to continue with their water saving efforts, as every intervention will assist in combatting “Day-Zero.”

Part of the Premier’s plans for schools that do not have access to boreholes, is to utilise sea water- and various recycled water sources. In addition, the WCG is currently engaging with various service providers, who might be capable of transporting 10 000 to 20000 litres of water per day to schools. 

There are now between 10-12 weeks left until Day-Zero is reached. This day will mark the time when Dam-levels reach 13.5%, which is the day that emergency rationing will take place. On this day, the City of Cape Town will switch of water access to all residential areas. 

The DA in the Western Cape remains committed to ensuring that each and every learner in our province has access to the relevant necessities as to ensure that they can make the most of their educational opportunities.

Tomorrow, Monday 29 January, the City of Cape Town will be activating the Disaster Operations Centre (DOC) to execute the City’s Water Disaster Plan, which will take effect in the event of Day Zero.

Executive Director: Safety and Security, Richard Bosman will be permanently seconded as Incident Commander to the DOC.

While the City is focusing all its efforts on beating back Day Zero, we do need to be prepared for a scenario where we take control of the City’s water supply in order to extend it into the winter months. We will shut off supply to taps when our dams reach a collective level of 13,5%.

In order to avoid this, we must reduce current consumption to 450 Megalitres of total consumption a day. This equates to 50 litres per person per day. Many Capetonians have reduced their consumption substantially over the past few months, and we call upon all residents to join us in our savings drive.

Since March 2017, the City’s Water and Sanitation department has introduced various initiatives to lower water demand, including advanced pressure reduction to lower the rate at which water flows, and the installation of water meters to reduce consumption. We will continue with these initiatives over the next few weeks to extend our water supply for as long as possible.

Together, we can beat Day Zero.

That said, we need to be prepared in the event that we do not. Continue reading

The City of Cape Town experiences a surge in diarrhoea during summer, as the warmer weather promotes the spread of germs. With the current drought crisis, City Health is drastically increasing efforts to ensure that residents are aware of how to maintain the necessary health and hygiene practices despite water restrictions. Read more below:

The City Health Department’s combined efforts to reduce childhood mortality from diarrhoea and pneumonia takes place from November to May annually, a period which has been called the Surge Season. The city-wide campaign, which was launched earlier today, this year includes a focus on maintaining good health and hygiene practices during the drought and incorporating Day Zero.

‘The water crisis that Cape Town is facing brings an added challenge to this year’s City Health Surge Season campaign. The peak of incidents of diarrhoea occur between February and April, and shortly after that there is a surge in pneumonia. The City is acutely aware of the potential health implications that a lack of water can have on health and hygiene practices. The campaign that launched today is aimed at creating awareness of which critical hygiene practices need to be observed despite the drought,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Alderman Smith joined health officials to kick off the campaign which includes city-wide back-to-back educational events at health facilities, food vendors, schools, early childhood development centres and in the community at large.  Continue reading


I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all Capetonians who have been redoubling their efforts to save water.

To those of you who are not yet part of the massive water-saving efforts that are under way in Cape Town, we urge you to join friends, neighbours, colleagues and Team Cape Town as a whole in beating back Day Zero.

Unfortunately, due to a drop in the dam levels of 1,4%, Day Zero has, as of today, moved forward to 12 April 2018.

However, it is still possible to push back Day Zero if we all stand together now and change our current path.

Now is the time to do so. We will not be getting second chances.

The City is making an enormous effort to delay Day Zero by rolling out aggressive pressure management operations across the city, installing thousands of water management devices on the properties of high users and ensuring that we better our record low overall water loss percentage of 16% (compared to the national average of 36%). Our average first response time to reported leaks and bursts is less than two hours.

Our desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects aimed at providing additional water are ongoing but will not provide sufficient supply to help us avoid Day Zero this year. They will, however, help us to become more resilient in weathering our next dry season. Continue reading

In recent days it has been reported that the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is calling community members to sign an online petition urging the Western Cape Government Health to expedite the release of Muslim post mortem cases within a 24-hour period. While the Department is committed to support the Muslim faith’s “hasten to bury” practice, it is not currently able to effect the release of decedents within 24 hours. Understandably this may lead to misunderstanding and frustration in the community and the Department wishes to clarify some essential facts in this matter.

In the case of an unnatural death, the law demands a medico-legal investigation of death which include a post-mortem examination. Thus the practice of any prioritisation must be balanced with the prioritisation for legal and clinical priorities, such as the gathering of evidence for medico-legal cases (e.g. rape cases). The essential mandate of Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) is to conduct medico-legal investigation into unnatural deaths, in support of the justice system. The quality of this investigation forms the basis of the medico-legal investigation and needs to be intact and stand up to scrutiny. The right to justice and a proper investigation are rights afforded to all citizens, and prioritisation needs to be weighed with this in mind.

Many people may not be aware that the only cases affected are only those pertaining to unnatural deaths as per definition and this includes procedure related deaths. This “delay” does not affect any person who dies a natural death as these cases are not admitted to the FPS, in which case burial may proceed as required. Continue reading

Pic: Theewaterskloof Dam/Jon Kerrin Photography

Theewaterskloof Dam/Jon Kerrin Photography


In summary:

  • Day Zero is now likely
  • 60% of Capetonians won’t save water and we must now force them
  • Punitive tariff to force high users to reduce demand
  • 50 litres per person per day for the next 150 days
  • Drought Charge likely to be scrapped by Council

We have reached a point of no return. Despite our urging for months, 60% of Capetonians are callously using more than 87 litres per day. It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero. At this point we must assume that they will not change their behaviour and that the chance of reaching Day Zero on 21 April 2018 is now very likely.

The people who are still wasting water seem to believe that Day Zero just can’t happen or that the City’s seven augmentation projects – set to produce around 200 million litres per day – will be enough to save us. This is not the case and, while our water augmentation programme will make Cape Town more water resilient in the future, it was never going to be enough to stop Day Zero.

The crisis has reached a new severity, necessitating a series of new emergency measures:

A punitive tariff Continue reading

The City of Cape Town reminds all water users that Level 6 water restrictions apply from 1 January 2018. While the City acknowledges that there are many super water savers in Cape Town, some 200 000 households are using more than 10 500 litres per month (more than 350 litres per day) which is simply far too high. The enhanced water restrictions also encourage a more sustainable use of borehole water as a precious resource. Read more below:

The implementation of the latest water restrictions for the Western Cape water supply system follows the directive by the National Department of Water and Sanitation requiring urban users to reduce their water usage by 45%, and agricultural users to reduce consumption by 60%.

If water usage is kept at 87 litres per person per day for essential indoor usage only then there should be no reason for any spike in consumption, whether it is hot or cold.

‘The daily water usage limit will remain at 87 litres per person per day, wherever you are, unless targets continue to be missed as is currently the case. We would then consider lowering usage targets further in an effort to adhere to these new restrictions and also to avoid Day Zero when most of our taps will run dry,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.

From 1 January 2018 excessive usage for domestic properties is classified as being in excess of 10 500 litres per month. Properties where households consume more than 10 500 litres per month could be fitted with a water management device.

Continue reading

High water usage by residents of Cape Town over this past week has brought Day Zero closer by in excess of three weeks to 29 April 2018.

Total storage has fallen by 1,1%. As of this week, dam levels stand at 33%. The City’s overall water usage rose to 641 million litres per day. As at today, only 34% of our residents are saving water. Agricultural users also consumed water at a similar rate to the city.

The dashboard can be viewed here:

‘If water consumption continues to rise, together with the very hot windy conditions which increase evaporation losses, we can expect Day Zero to happen as soon as 18 March 2018. This is a terrifying prospect. Residential customers remain the largest portion of water users. If we can bring consumption down to 500 million litres per day, we will be able to avoid Day Zero,’ said the City’s Director of Water and Sanitation, Peter Flower.

Day Zero is the day that almost all of the taps in the city will be turned off and people will have to queue for water at approximately 200 sites across the peninsula. Continue reading


This Friday, everybody heading to Cape Town International Airport is encouraged to replace 5kg of their baggage allowance for 5l of water.

The flight route between Johannesburg and Cape Town is one of the busiest in the world, with over 4.4 million passengers flying it every year. Many passengers don’t use their full baggage allowance (ranging from 23 to 32 kilograms, depending on the airline).

Business travellers often only take carry-on luggage, and even some holidaymakers pack light in order to do shopping down in the Cape.

When arriving in Cape Town, passengers can either collect their guilt-free water from home to use during their stay, or they can opt to leave it at the collection point at Cape Town International Airport. The social experiment is inspired by the current drought heavily affecting Cape Town – one of South Africa’s major tourist destinations.

Keshin Govender, Head of Communications for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, says the severity of the crisis inspired them to do something. “Every year, Gautengers go to Cape Town for their holidays. If you consider that the daily per person water allocation is 87 litres, this places tremendous additional strain on the city.”

During the one-day activation at OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports, travellers can participate by having their luggage weighed at the Siemens AirDrop stand, located in the check-in hall opposite the self-service check-in counters (directly next to ACSA Info Desk at OR Tambo). Any travellers whose luggage is five (or more) kilos under the weight limit will be able to ‘exchange’ their unused kilograms for litres of water that will be delivered to Cape Town on their behalf.

“By simply exchanging unused luggage kilos for water, we hope to ‘airlift’ around 5 000 litres of drinking water to the city in a matter of hours. It is this kind of ingenuity that has made us a global leader in intelligent water management,” says Govender.

The AirDrop collection stand on the Cape Town side will be in the arrivals area, opposite Woolworths. Uncollected water will be donated to Gift of the Givers.

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