Parched Cape Town imposes water restrictions due to drought

Drought has left Theewaterskloof Dam some 100 kms from Cape Town at less than 20 percent of water capacity
Drought has left Theewaterskloof Dam some 100 kms from Cape Town at less than 20 percent of water capacity

28 May, 2017

Bore holes being drilled to get enough water in critical areas The Western Cape's port city of Cape Town does not have enough water tankers to supply residents.

She says there is a need to put emergency measures in place as soon as possible.

Zille's office said the province would maintain the disaster status for three months.

The province's immediate interventions will include "drilling boreholes at hospitals, starting in the metro, to be followed by schools in high-risk water-scarce areas".

"The disaster declaration will accelerate the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre's Project "Avoiding Day Zero", the Province's strategy to ensure that taps do not run dry", Premier Zille stressed.

"Funding will be reprioritized provincially and, should further assistance be needed, the province will approach National Treasury and the National Department of Water and Sanitation", the statement said.

The area is facing its worst water shortage in more than a century.

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She additionally declared arrangements to utilize a portable desalination plant and tap the common aquifer under Cape Town's Table Mountain.

Assessing the state of water restrictions in the respective municipalities - while local councils remain responsible for making area-specific decisions, the disaster declaration enables the province to issue instructions for any changes to these restrictions that may be necessary for each locality. "In January 2016‚ parts of the West Coast and Central Karoo were declared agricultural drought disaster areas‚" said Mpofu.

The actual level of Cape Town's dams averaged around 20%, but the last 10% of the dams is not usable because of poor quality or because the water can't be accessed, according to city authorities.

Some people are anxious that the city might turn off the taps at some point, he said Tuesday.

Two reservoirs in the Western Cape region are already completely dry according to official statistics.

De Decker said the focus of drought relief would be to support farmers by buying fodder.

"A crisis awaits agriculture in the Western Cape".

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