JOHANNESBURG – Local authorities in Cape Town postponed on Monday “Day Zero” from April 16 until May 11 following cuts in consumption by the agricultural sector, pushing back the date when most taps are to be turned off due to the South African city’s severe water shortage.
“Day Zero” is when dam levels reach 13.5 percent and residents must line up for water from distribution points; currently dam levels are at 25.85 percent, according to the City of Cape Town’s official website.
Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson explained in a statement that the agriculture sector, which currently uses 30 percent of the water supply, is expected to reduce its share to 15 percent in March and 10 percent in April.
Many people in Cape Town’s poorest areas had already relied on communal water sources for their day-to-day needs, but as “Day Zero” approaches, rich and poor alike have turned to collecting water from other sources, such as mountain springs.
The severe drought that plagues the South African capital is an unusual phenomenon, since it is not only caused by the scarcity of rainfall that characterized the last rainy season (April-October), but also because the level of rainfall has been also particularly low during the last two years.
According to data from the World Health Organization, about 100 liters of water are spent on showering for just five minutes.