Western Cape water crisis worsens
January 30, 2018
Parliament, South Africa: The Chairperson of the Select Committee on Social Services, Cathy Dlamini, has called for full cooperation between various government entities together with the City of Cape Town to find soluble solutions to the ongoing water crisis.
Dlamini also cautioned against pointing fingers and turning the ongoing water crisis in the Western Cape into a political point-scoring match.
“We continue to call for full cooperation between the national departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Water and Sanitation; the Western Cape Department of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning together with the City of Cape Town in finding solutions to this crisis,” she said.
Dlamini added the people of the Western Cape deserve leadership and guidance during this tough time and all spheres of government must meet their specific responsibilities to ensure the continued availability of water.
“The Committee reiterates the need for collaboration between all three spheres of government to provide the requisite leadership and guidance in these times of uncertainty,” read the statement.
The committee also called for changes in water-use behaviour. “
The people of Cape Town must also chip in and assist by reducing consumption and adhering to restrictions,” Dlamini concluded.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town activated its Disaster Operations Centre (DOC) to execute the City’s Water Disaster Plan on Monday, January 29, 2018. The plan will take effect in the event of Day Zero.
Day Zero is the day that all taps in Cape Town will be shut down and all resident will have to line up to receive water from about 200 sites across the peninsula.
Incident Commander to the DOC and Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman said While the city and residents are focusing all its efforts on beating back Day Zero, they do need to be prepared for a scenario where the city takes 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,” said Bosman.
He added:” When our dam levels reach 13,5%, we will begin to shut down our reticulation system, except to key commercial areas and institutions such as hospitals. Once this happens, residents will be able to access water from collection points across the City.
“Each resident will be allocated 25 litres of water a day. There will be separate sections for pedestrian and vehicle access, as well as access for those collecting on behalf of vulnerable groups.”
Bosman continued: “It will be the task of the DOC to manage the water collection points. A great deal of preparation is being done to ensure that this happens as efficiently as possible. The City’s Disaster Risk Management Department has been consulting with the international community since early last year on how best to distribute water in a time of crisis. The water collection points, which have received the lion’s share of the attention over the past weeks, are only one layer of the Disaster Plan. They are a means of last resort,” he reiterated.
Bosman also said that the city will use water tankers to deliver water to vulnerable groups such as old age homes and care facilities.
“We are also engaging retailers and the bottled water association to ramp up their distribution networks to increase bottled water supply, so that those who do not want to use the water collection points can purchase water,” added Bosman.