Day Zero leaps forward by nine days for Cape Town

Theewaterskloof Dam, Western Cape

Cape Town’s plan for its worsening water crisis is the stuff of horror movies

Should the crisis worsen, the SA National Defence Force will patrol the streets. WHAT?

Day Zero leaps forward by nine days for Cape Town

Theewaterskloof Dam, Western Cape

OK, Capetonians. We know the majority of you are doing your bit as water warriors and saving every last drop you can. But for those of you still hoping the water crisis will blow over, you need to read this…

Mayor Patricia de Lille has outlined the three phases to deal with acute water shortages. It is fairly grim reading.

Currently, we are in ‘Phase One’. This is where the city acknowledges there is a shortage of water supply to the region, and implements measures to try and conserve. Things like bestowing level five water restrictions on Cape Town residents have already been initiated, along with the reduction of water pressure.

The phases of Cape Town’s water crisis:

Phase One is the critical stage

In this press briefing from Patricia de Lille, the reality of our crisis really hits home. Intermittent supply disruptions are already in place, and citizens are now being asked to store 5 litres of essential drinking water per day.

As water rationing is intensified, some areas will be affected for short periods of time. Due to This there will be intermittent, localised temporary water supply disruptions.

This process does not result in a complete shutdown of the water reticulation system, but it will severely limit available water supply in the system per day.

We ask water users to store up to five litres of municipal drinking water only for essential usage. Although, we ask that you do not store excessive municipal water.

Phase Two is the disaster stage

This is where things start to get eerie. And with Cape Town currently consuming water at it’s current rate, this WILL happen at some point. This is officially a disaster stage, and this is how it will play out:

  1. Residents will be able to collect a predefined quantity of drinking water per person per day from these collection sites.
  2. During this phase, the City would more actively assume control over the daily water supply available to households and businesses with more extreme rationing.
  3. The City’s law enforcement and policing resources, as well as the various resources of our intergovernmental partners, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), will be deployed to ensure that general safety is maintained throughout the city in this phase.

That’s right folks. Soldiers will be brought in to maintain law and order. We are pleading on our gnarled hands and knees to take notice of this, or make sure anyone you know is aware of the situation we are plummeting towards.

If you aren’t ready for Phase Three… Tough. At this rate, it could be happening before March 2018 – the month Patricia de Lille says that our dams ‘will run out of water’.

Read: Dear tourists of Cape Town: Please be aware of our water crisis

Phase 3 is the extreme disaster phase

At this point, the City would be incapable of drawing water from its surface dams in the Western Cape Water Supply System. There would be a limited period in which the City can continue to supply water before complete water system failure.

Non-surface drinking water supplies, sourced from groundwater abstraction from various aquifers and spring water, will be available for drinking purposes only. The City will distribute this drinking water to residents through water distribution points.

Our last chance to prevent a disaster

For heaven’s sake, do whatever you can to conserve more. Bollock anyone who is flagrantly using water. For the ‘Ah, it’ll be fine’ people, we have news for you. It’s not going to be fine.

Phases Two and Three can only avoided with progressive savings and rationing in Phase One. This extreme can only be avoided if we all do what we need to do now to save water.