But on their own these steps are unlikely to be adequate to avert “day zero”. And there is little Capetowners can do about it. Hide Caption 2 of 13 Photos: Cape Town’s water crisisA man in Cape Town, South Africa, carries water from a natural spring on Thursday, February 1.Hide Caption 3 of 13 Photos: Cape Town’s water crisisA police officer controls water collection on February 1.Hide Caption 4 of 13 Photos: Cape Town’s water crisisA woman waits to collect water on February 1.
The date of “Day Zero”, when engineers turn the taps off, has been continually revised in the past few months.
Water vulnerability, exacerbated by climate variability and change, needs climate-smart solutions implemented worldwide. This is the front line of global warming.
At present agriculture uses about 30 per cent of the water supply; the proportion is expected to drop to 15 per cent in March and 10 per cent in April.
The rich are digging boreholes – private wells to reach water in the aquifer.
There is resentment. Neighbours in better-off neighbourhoods are reporting each other for switching on lawn sprinklers or swimming pools. In this way, trends in water availability and water use predicted by science can be confirmed or corrected by observations, and can more confidently guide infrastructure development.
Each student in residence will be supplied with a bucket to catch grey water for reuse.
Lessons from the 1996 to mid-2010 show that threat of drought was clearly understood following several severe droughts.
Levels of usable water in the dams surrounding Cape Town have been dropping by 1.4 per cent a day, and now stand at around 17.2 per cent. That’s down by almost 60-million litres per day compared to mid-January.
This crisis should serve as a wakeup call for cities around the world. Many, for example, are shrugging off advice to spend no more than two minutes in the shower. He said in a recent statement, “Capetonians must continue reducing consumption if we are to avoid Day Zero”. They have to change their habits. In the Eastern Cape province, some towns are rationing water, while other provinces are carefully watching their supplies.
The water crisis in Cape Town is more than an inconvenience for the homeowners. UCT: current water conservation measuresIn an interview with the Daily Vox, UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said UCT had appointed a consulting company and added capacity to assist in developing detailed contingency plans to avoid Day Zero, and to operate if Day Zero becomes a reality. “We can not accurately predict the volume of rainfall still to come, or when it will come”, Smith said.
The City recognizes that groundwater extraction must be approached with great sensitivity, as aquifer water is a finite resource.
Meanwhile, the city is also working on establishing small-scale desalination plants as a means to urgently augment the rapidly dwindling water supply.
“The Love Cape Town package provides what active travelers are asking for at an incredibly affordable price”, said Terry von Guilleaume, president of SAA Vacations.
But these other options aren’t cheap. The recent severe drought, which has lasted three years, was nearly certainly made worse by the impacts of climate change, including rising temperature and declining precipitation. That number is widely expected to rise.
But emergency planners have immediate concerns.
“I have got 27 chickens and 12 ducks and three dogs; they all need water”, he told the Mail & Guardian.
Greg Pillay, the city’s head of disaster planning, was blunt.
As the water crisis continues, the allure of moving to SA’s tourism jewel and the “semigration” trend is starting to diminish. “We had to go back to the drawing board”. Water is already running out in parts of Eastern Cape, KZN, Free State and Limpopo. We can avert Day Zero. In the meantime, saving water is the only game in town in the hope that it will buy the city sufficient time until the next winter rainfall in 2018. For example, adaptive water management monitors the amount of water available due to variable climate (supply) and the quantity used over time (demand). “If you doubted it before, you can’t now”.