Dams that supply Cape Town fall further as water crisis looms

FILE Cyclists participating in the Cape Town Cycle Tour

"Capetonians must continue reducing consumption if we are to avoid Day Zero", the city's deputy mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement.

The measures in place at hotels are nothing compared to the restrictions placed on Cape Town residents.

These comments emerge as ratings agency Moody's Investor Services indicated that the water crisis poses a credit risk to Cape Town's debt rating, which is now rated at the lowest level of investment grade - Baa3.

"We can not afford to lose momentum now - we must keep going".

City officials say dam levels dipped below 30 percent in the first week of the new year, with only about 19.7 percent of that water considered usable. "There has not been any significant decline in urban usage".

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"I think the important thing to understand is that water is far too serious a matter to leave to the politicians. Once they have reached their quota, they are required to apply to National Government for additional supply".

The Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape have already declared provincial disasters.

Asked about the City of Cape Town's plans, and for suggestions, Xanthea Limberg, mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services, said the plastic bottles could be donated to people who needed them.

"Our concern is the 174.7-million cubic metres allocated to us, and whether the national minister will ensure we get it", he said.

Last month officials of the South African city warned that a combination of unprecedented drought and unsustainable water consumption meant its six feeder dams would reach unusable levels by April 12th.

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Maimane detailed some of the demand management techniques being introduced by the City - these include pressure reduction across zones, the installation of water management devices, and increased tariffs for those using more water than the daily allowance.

Three desalination plants are also under construction and combined they will add about 16 million litres of water per day into the system by May.

The Cape Flats aquifer is on track while the Atlantis aquifer is already producing 5 million litres a day.

The city is working to stretch its water to June, when heavier rains are expected for the beginning of winter.

"Every day we push Day Zero back, is a day closer to defeating it in its entirety".

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