JOHANNESBURG – The South African drought-stricken municipality of Cape Town managed to push back until June 4 the so-called “Day Zero,” the point when all taps are to be shut off due to critically low water reserves, thanks to a drastic reduction in consumption, authorities announced on Tuesday.
The legislative capital now has two months more than initially predicted before the city of over 3.7 million people must cut normal water service and rely on local distribution points.
The leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, whose party rules the Western Cape region, announced that “Day Zero” had been pushed back as a result of the lowest average consumption so far during the past week, 529 million liters a day.
“Day Zero” occurs when the collective water reserves in the city’s reservoirs reach 13.5 percent. The current level on Tuesday was 24.7 percent.
The severe drought that has plagued the South African city is an unusual phenomenon, since it is caused not only by the scarcity of rainfall that characterized the last rainy season (April-October), but also because the level of rainfall has been particularly low during the last two years.
The authorities have asked residents and tourists to limit their daily consumption to 50 liters a day, so that running water could last until the next rainy season, which runs from April to October, although sometimes rainfall is delayed even until June.
Cape Town, besides being the second most populous city in South Africa, is one of the main tourist attractions in the country.
According to data from the World Health Organization, a five-minute shower uses around 100 liters of water.