VILLIERSDORP, South Africa – Water levels managed by the largest dam to supply Cape Town were critically low on Tuesday as the region continued to battle a serious drought.
South Africa’s second most populous city after Johannesburg was facing a severe water crisis and hurtling towards the so-called “Day Zero,” the date on which Cape Town would be left with virtually no water at all.
“Cape Town is experiencing a serious water shortage due to insufficient rainfall and fast declining dam levels,” the city warned on its official website, as it made a plea to its inhabitants to implement water-saving measures.
Images captured by an epa photographer showed a dead fish laying on the dry bed of Theewaterskloof Resevoir, in Villiersdorp.
Theewaterskloof dam, the largest in the region, is vital to Cape Town’s water supply and can hold over 480,000 milliliters when full – over half the city’s total water supply when all dams are combined (898,221 ML).
Authorities were asking residents to reduce their daily water consumption to 87 liters or less, but only 39 percent of residents were sticking to that target, according to official data.
Day Zero – “the day the taps will be turned off” – is currently forecast to fall on April 21, 2018, based on water usage data from the past week.
According to the City of Cape Town, the dams supplying water to the city were at 28.7 percent capacity on Tuesday.
Authorities were hoping to avoid the impending arrival of Day Zero, which would signify that water reserves were at 13.5 percent.