According to the City of Cape Town’s modelling, “Day Zero” – the projected date when the city would cut the ordinary supply of water to its citizens – will not take place this year.
This achievement is due to residents, businesses, farmers and visitors pulling together to drastically reduce their consumption by 57% in three years.
It is also dependent on a continuation of the historic savings in consumption – we cannot ease up on our efforts yet.
But today it is clear that every person who has helped save water is a hero in their own right, and we thank them for their efforts in recent weeks.
By working together to beat Day Zero, we have built a water-smart destination that will be a beacon of hope for many other places around the world that will face the effects of climate change.
The City of Cape Town’s announcement today follows its “worst-case scenario” model – that assumes no rain at all – now predicting the dam levels to only fall below 13.5% towards the end of August. The Cape region experiences winter rainfall, usually beginning in May, and lasting well into August. When this is factored in – together with the record low levels of consumption, reductions in water usage by agriculture, transfers from other water systems, and the alternative water supplies that are coming online – it is now clear that the taps will stay open this year.
All residents, visitors and businesses must, however, continue to save water to ensure that these historically low consumption levels are maintained.
Capetonians should be proud of what they have achieved so far. According to comparative research, the city has set a world-class standard, reducing its consumption by nearly 60% in just 3 years. Melbourne reduced its consumption by half after 12 years, and regions like California, achieved reductions of under 30%. The response to the drought crisis now has to move to a culture of sustainable and efficient water-use.
We urge all residents and visitors, and the private and public sectors, to continue to work together in building a water resilient destination. If we continue on this successful path, we will become global leaders in the fight against climate change, and will build a destination that is even more attractive to visit, live, work, play and invest in.