Avoiding Cape Town's crisis was a combination of human effort and natural luck For months, the clock on Cape Town’s water dashboard counted down ominously to Day Zero—the day the drought-stricken city would eventually run out of water. And then in February, it was pushed all the way to July. The latest count doesn’t even have a date, only that Day Zero may still happen in 2019. City of Cape Town. The Day Zero dashboard now. Calculating Day Zero took into account maximum evaporation (based on temperature and wind) and existing patterns in agricultural and urban use—an equation that considered both natural and man-made conditions. Avoiding Day Zero has been a combination o .
Graph of total reservoir water stored in the Western Cape's largest six dams from 30 June 2013 to 31 March 2018. The graph illustrates the declining water storage levels over the course of the Cape Town water crisis, and the impact of reduced usage since early 2018. The prediction shows storage levels reaching around 12% by the end of May 2018 based on normal (pre-crisis) usage.
Data obtained from the (CSAG) The Cape Town water crisis in began in 2015, resulting in a severe water shortage in the region, most notably affecting the .
In early 2018, the dam levels were predicted to decline to critically low levels by April, the City announced plans for " Day Zero", when the municipal water supply would largely be shut off if a particular lower limit of water storage was reached, potentially making Cape Town the first major city to run out of water. Through water saving measures and water supply augmentation, the City had reduced its daily water usage by more than half to around 500 million litres (110,000,000 imp gal; 130,000,000 US gal) per day in March 2018.
By June 2018 dam levels had increased to 43% of capacity, which enabled the to announce that "Day Zero" was unlikely for 2019. In September, with dam levels close to 70%, the city began easing water restrictions. The Cape Town region experiences a with warm, dry summers and winter rainfall.
Water is supplied largely from the six major dams of the which are situated in the nearby mountainous areas. The dams are recharged by rain falling in the catchment areas, largely during the cooler winter months of May to August, and dam levels decline during the dry summer months of November to April during which urban water use increases and irrigation takes place in the agricultural areas.
The City of Cape Town's population has grown from 2.4 million residents in 1995 to an estimated 4.3 million by 2018, representing a 79 percent population increase in 23 years, whereas dam water storage only increased by 15 percent in the same period. In 2016/2017, 64.5% of the City's water supply went to formal residential users, while 3.6 percent went to . From 1950 to 1999, the City's usage of treated water grew at 4% per year in line with the population growth.
Peak water usage in 1999 was 335 million cubic metres (335 gigalitres) per year. Planning to accommodate this growth in water demand on the Western Cape Water Supply System commenced as early as 1990. Periods of low winter rainfall in 2000/2001 and 2003/2004 resulted in water restrictions being imposed. In about 2003 the City entered into an agreement with the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry for the construction of the Berg River Dam and Supplement Scheme and also commenced water demand management.
In 2009, the storage capacity of the dams supplying Cape Town was increased by 17 percent from 768 to 898 million cubic metres when the and Supplement scheme were completed. In 2007, the predicted that the growing demand on the Western Cape Water Supply System would exceed supply if and demand management measures were not implemented by the City and other municipalities.
Although the City's water demand management measures and those of the other urban users were relatively successful in reducing water demand, the severe drought from 2015 to 2017, perhaps with a recurrence interval of about 1 in 300 years, required the City and all users to implement severe restrictions.
The cause of the water crisis in the Western Cape was the extreme drought that exceeded the planning norms of the Department of Water and Sanitation, which is responsible for the planning of all surface and ground water supplies.
It is believed that water scarcity, caused by an extreme drought, was exacerbated by 50% population growth in the last decade, agricultural usage, invasive plant species, and inadequate response to imposed restrictions. Although the rainfall pattern tends to cycle between different stations, there were a clear decline since 2016.
A study conducted by the Climate System Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town undertook statistical analyses and determined that the low rainfall between the years 2015 and 2017 was a very rare and extreme event. Some scientists believe that the drought may have been exacerbated by climate change with a one degree Celsius increase in temperature over the past century. Models predict that the average temperature in Cape Town will increase by another 0.25 degrees Celsius in the next ten years, which may increase the likelihood and severity of drought.
Climate modelling suggests a likely decrease in rainfall, and it has been suggested that the recent drought may be the first evidence supporting this prediction. There is additional concern that several other cities may have similar occurrences of water scarcity.
A concern is that the Western Cape Water Supply System is based on the hydrological records of previous years. Climate change may alter precipitation patterns, leading to less stable sources of water and higher rates of water evaporation.
Agriculture uses about 29% of the water supplied by the Western Cape Water Supply System, and was also severely restricted during the period of drought. Water levels as a percentage of total dam capacity by year. Major dams Capacity (megalitres) 8 October 2018 14 May 2018 15 May 2017 15 May 2016 15 May 2015 15 May 2014 130 010 99.4 39.2 32.4 27.2 54.0 90.5 33 517 91.9 35.4 26.5 37.6 47.9 39.6 31 767 87.7 59.6 56.7 56.9 57.8 79.1 480 188 58.8 12.0 15.0 31.3 51.3 74.5 164 095 96.2 14.5 17.2 21.3 42.5 59.5 58 644 95.1 48.4 36.0 48.5 50.5 58.8 Total stored (megalitres) 898 221 684 030 191 843 190 300 279 954 450 429 646 137 Total % Storage 76.2 21.4 21.2 31.2 50.1 71.9 2015-2016 After good rains in 2013 and 2014, the City of began experiencing a drought in 2015, the first of three consecutive years of dry winters brought on possibly by the weather pattern and perhaps by .
Water levels in the City's dams declined from 71.9 percent in 2014 to 50.1 percent in 2015. On 1 January 2016, previous water restrictions of Level 1 from 2005 had been lifted to Level 2 by the City and on 1 November 2016 it elevated these to Level 3, when the Department of Water and Sanitation gazetted water restrictions for urban and agricultural use. Significant droughts in other parts of South Africa ended in August 2016 when heavy rain and flooding occurred in the interior of the country, but the drought in the Western Cape remained.
2017 The City increased water restrictions to Level 3B on 1 February 2017 and by the end of the dry season in May 2017, the drought was declared the City's worst in a century, with storage in dams being less than 10 percent of their usable capacity.
Level 4 water restrictions were imposed on 1 June 2017, limiting the usage of water to 100 litres per person per day. Overall rainfall in 2017 was the lowest since records commenced in 1933. A map of the major dams that supply water to Cape Town With the dry summer season approaching, the City increased its existing water restrictions to Level 4B on 1 July 2017, and to Level 5 on 3 September 2017, banning outdoor and non-essential use of water, encouraging the use of for toilet flushing, and aiming to limit the overall per person water usage to 87 litres per day, for a total consumption of 500 million litres per day.
In order to achieve this target the public were exhorted to limit their personal household usage to 50 litres per person per day. By early October 2017, following a low rainfall winter, Cape Town had an estimated five months of storage available before water levels would be depleted. In the same month, the issued an emergency water plan to be rolled-out in multiple phases depending on the severity of the water shortage.
Phase 1 compromising "water rationing through extreme pressure reduction" was implemented immediately. In Phase 2, post "Day Zero", water would have been shut off to most of the system except to places of key water access. Phase 3 would have been the point at which the City would no longer be able to draw water from surface dams in the Western Cape Water Supply System and there would have been a limited period of time before the water supply system fails.
In mid-October 2017 the City was criticised by some of the companies for the slow pace of procurement, high level of bureaucracy, lack of urgency, and the inadequate scale of the proposed water supply projects, however on 26 October 2017 it was announced that the Cape Town City Manager would be given special powers to take drought-related actions that would not have to follow the City's normal decision making and approval process.
This announcement came after a review of the City's decision making processes found that the City of Cape Town failed to adequately and timeously deal with the disaster." 2018 at approximately 12% on 10 February 2018 On 1 January 2018 the City declared Level 6 water restrictions of 87 litres per person per day.
In February 2018, the City increased restrictions to Level 6B limiting usage to 50 litres per person per day. On 24 January 2018, the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, stated that the "provision of bulk water supply is a National Government mandate" as the Department of Water and Sanitation is responsible for funding the expansion of the water supplies from surface and ground water sources.
The Provincial Cabinet also announced that it was drawing up plans with the for a strategy to deploy officers at water distribution points across the City after "Day Zero". In mid-January 2018, previous Cape Town Mayor announced that the City would be forced to shut off most of the municipal water supply if conditions did not change.
Level 7 water restrictions, "Day Zero", would be declared when the water level of the major dams supplying the City reached 13.5%. Municipal water supplies would largely be switched off, and residents would have to rely on 149 water collection points around the City to collect a daily ration of 25 litres of water per person. This would further affect Cape Town's economy, because employees would have to take time off from work to wait in line for water.
Water supply would be maintained in the City's , in informal settlements (where water is already collected from central locations) and to essential services such as hospitals. At the time of the announcement, "Day Zero" was projected to take place on 22 April 2018, but soon thereafter this was revised to 12 April. The "Day Zero" projections were based on the fortnightly changes in dam storage levels, assuming that the rates of decline would continue unchanged, with no further rainfall or change in water demand.
In February 2018, the Groenland Water User Association (a representative body for farmers in the agricultural area near Cape Town) began releasing an additional 10 billion litres of water from their Eikenhof Dam at no cost. This water was transferred into the Upper at no cost. Cape Town's largest reservoir, Theewaterskloof, was at 11% capacity in March 2018 Residential water usage declined significantly under the Level 6B restrictions to a low on 12 March 2018 of 511 million litres per day, the closest yet to the targeted level of 450 million litres per day.
Agricultural use also declined significantly after irrigators had used their restricted allocations. As the reductions in water demand took effect after April, the City moved "Day Zero" back in stages and on 28 June postponed "Day Zero" indefinitely. Good winter rains in 2018 resulted in dam levels rising, but the national Department of Water and Sanitation announced that bulk water restrictions would remain in place until levels reached 85%.
In September, with dam levels close to 70% towards the end of the rainy season, the city reduced consumer water restrictions from level 6B to level 5. Dam levels peaked at 76%. In November, restrictions were reduced to level 3, or 105 litres per person per day, aiming for a 30% saving on normal usage. Under level 3 restrictions, municipal water may be used to water gardens at certain times, using a watering can or bucket but not a hose, to wash cars using a bucket, and to top up swimming pools as long as the pool is fitted with a cover to prevent evaporation.
Research on long-term weather data done by the found that the period from 2015-2017 had been the driest 3-year period since 1933, and 2017 was the driest year since 1933, and possibly earlier, since comparable data before 1933 was not available.
It also found that a drought of this severity would statistically occur approximately once every 300 years. Turned off tap and hand sanitizer in public restroom in Cape town 2018 The 60% restriction in 2018 of water usage for irrigation resulted in the loss of 37,000 jobs in the Western Cape Province and an estimated 50,000 people being pushed below the poverty line due to job losses, inflation and increases in the price of food.
By February 2018, the agricultural sector had incurred R14 billion (US$1.17 billion) in losses due to the water shortage.
Analysts "estimate that the water crisis will cost some 300,000 jobs in agriculture and tens of thousands more in the service, hospitality and food sectors". Urban residents were requested not to flush the toilet after urinating, to flush using rainwater or greywater after defecating, and to reduce the length and frequency of showers. In order to conserve water, hand sanitizer was provided in offices and public buildings for use instead of conventional hand-washing.
Some cafes began using plastic and paper cups and plates to reduce dishwashing. The City recommended that residents keep 10 litres of water as an emergency drinking supply in the event of possible temporary interruptions in supply. Public health Public health professionals raised concerns about diseases that could be spread via faecal-oral contamination as a result of less hand-washing.
Public health companies, research centres and health providers were also worried about the impact that the water crisis could have had on health services.
Inadequate sanitation could have led to , which kill 2.2 million people every year worldwide, with most deaths occurring among children younger than 5 years of age. With a population of around 4.3 million and a population density of around 1500 per square kilometre it was suggested that this could have lead to diseases like and other spreading rapidly without proper sanitation, especially in the impoverished neighbourhoods of Cape Town.
Without clean water the public health consequences could have been increased by insects in dirty waters, which might have caused the further spread of diseases. Officials warned that water-borne illnesses such as cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid fever would "likely become more prevalent" as residents began storing water in contaminated containers.
Fire risks There was concern that fire risk would increase as the environment and infrastructure became increasingly dry.
This was especially significant for large industrial sites and warehousing as fire on one site could spread more easily to other buildings in close proximity.
Fire suppression system might also have failed due to reduced water pressure in higher lying areas. Occupational health risks Emergency shower and eyewash stations are an essential part of workplace safety for many laboratories and factories.
A steady supply of water is necessary in the event of harmful chemical exposure. Many Occupational Health and Safety requirements suggested that emergency showers should be able to pump 75 litres per minute for a minimum of 15 minutes. If these wash stations had been banned or limited, workers who handle highly corrosive chemicals would have been vulnerable. Vulnerable population In homes and orphanages, children were one of the most vulnerable groups that could have suffered from health effects of water scarcity.
The feeding, washing, and sterilization of items required to care for children is water intensive. Furthermore, If schools in the Western Cape would have had their taps turned off on "Day Zero", 1.1 million children could be left without water.
Implications and Response of Business The drought presented challenges to businesses at different stages and intensities, depending on the nature of the business.
Businesses responded depending on a combination of government regulation, managerial judgement and access to capital with which to effect changes. Implications for Agriculture The agriculture industry is one of the largest users of water. The wine industry in the Western Cape is a major tourist draw and together with the export fruit industry employs about 340,000 workers and contributes more than 10% to the Province's economy.
The wine industry drew 1.5 million tourists in 2017 and together with the export fruit growing sector normally uses about 30% of the water from the sources that also supply Cape Town. Depending on the region, a vineyard needs between 10 and 24 inches of rain to survive. In 2017 local vineyards received on average half their precipitation which resulted in water stress, causing smaller yields.
The returns on investment of the local wine and fruit industries are very low although the wine industry produces some of the most popular wines in the world. It was estimated that in 2018 the yield of vineyards would fall by 20% from the 1.4 million tons produced in 2017, and that this would result in a 9% decrease in the volume of wine.
Hydrological poverty Hydrological poverty tends to trap people that cannot afford to purchase the food or water necessary for their society to become more affluent. During the drought an analyst estimated that 300,000 jobs would be lost in agriculture and tens of thousands more in the associated services, the hospitality and food sectors.
In Cape Town it is illegal to sell water from wells or rivers but people could still profit from the transport and labour associated with the delivery of water from other areas.
Those who were using significantly more than the allocated daily water allowance of 50 litres per capita per day were fined between 500–3000 ( 41–248). Yet this impact further cemented the poverty gap because the fine was relatively small for the wealthy but crippling for less affluent residents.
Government responsibility Responsibility for the water supply is shared by local, provincial and national government. In terms of the Water Act of 1998 the national government is the "" of the nation's water resources to ensure that water is "protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons".
It states that "the National Government, acting through the , has the power to regulate the use, flow and control of all water in the Republic." This resulted in tension between the DA-led local and provincial government on the one hand, and the ANC-led national government on the other, with the parties initially blaming each other for the water crisis.
Tourism There has been a decrease in the tourism sector with a decrease in arrivals, occupancy and feet through attractions in January 2018 when compared to the same period to last year. The accommodation sector has reported a decline in occupancy of 10%. Positives This water crisis has increased research and investment in alternative water systems, which may ultimately help prevent other cities from falling into the same degree of water scarcity.
The combination of climate change and population increase in urban areas means other cities may face similar severe droughts and may need to consider alternative methods of obtaining water. The City of Cape Town commissioned three small temporary (2 year contracts) desalination plants (two of 7 megalitres per day and one of 2 megalitres per day capacities) and drilled a number of boreholes and a 10 megalitres per day water reuse project will also be constructed.
More than 50% reduction in water usage was achieved during the drought from 2015 to 2018. New water market in Cape Town The National Water Act of 1998 is mainly based on surface water resources, mainly rivers, and also on groundwater and does not address alternative water solutions. With the increase in water demand and decrease of rainfall, alternative water sources need to be considered. The Cape Town water crisis inspired the private sector to step-in and provide alternative solutions.
This led to an increase of the sale of water in single use plastic containers which came at the expense of the environment due to the production of additional plastic waste. There was also a significant increase in the sale of water tanks for storing roof water and in the development of private boreholes as well as in the provision of household water treatment facilities.
Although various alternative water supply solutions have been implemented by the private sector, the water regulations do not easily allow citizen and local businesses to go off the municipality’s water supply system.
To enable the private sector to contribute to augmenting water service delivery, further changes in local by-laws may need to be implemented. Water Demand Management From about 2010 onwards the City's water demand measures successfully reduced the growth in water demand in spite of the significant increase in the population.
These measures together with the steeply rising tariffs that has taken place may in part account for the limited savings achieved after the earlier restrictions.
The City's recently published by-laws are aimed at continuing to promote water conservation and demand management and also to provide for the regulation of alternative supplies. The by-laws also specify that water efficient fittings approved by the South African Bureau of Standards should be provided for all new developments and renovations.
During the recent drought the City of Cape Town installed a number of water management devices to restrict excess use. These devices were programmed to shut off automatically if more than 350 litres was consumed by a household during a 24 hour period. It is the City's future intention to provide water metering analytics. • Cassim, Zaheer (19 January 2018).
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"Cape Town will run out of water in 17 years". Cape Times. Water supplies for the Cape Town area are expected to dry up in 17 years time, the Water Research Commission (WRC) disclosed yesterday.
"It is estimated that known fresh water supplies for the Cape Town metropolitan area will be fully committed by the year 2007," it said in its annual report tabled in Parliament yesterday. "Thereafter the reclamation of purified sewage effluent to augment supplies is a distinct possibility". • Basholo, Zolile (4 February 2016).
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2018-02-15 . Retrieved 2018-02-16. • . News24. 12 July 2018. • (pdf). City of Cape Town. 30 November 2018. • DIANA NEILLE, MARELISE VAN DER MERWE & LEILA DOUGAN. . features.dailymaverick.co.za . Retrieved 2017-11-03.
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best born again christian dating cape town water crisis update - Cape Town water crisis shortage update: Why is Cape town running out of water?
Planet Earth, with its majestic diversity and incredible power to surprise us, has been showing for years that we could face a global crisis for access to water. 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without. Also, at least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated. Without further action to protect valuable water resources, these data and recent cases of drought in major cities may threaten water crises around the globe in the future.
RELATED: Cape Town: Will it be the first of many? Cape Town, a cosmopolitan city of 3.7 million people on the west coast of South Africa, is about to run out of water. Weeks ago, local authorities were predicting that “Day Zero” in Cape Town was going to arrive in late April, and that people will have to start procuring water from one of the 200 collection points throughout the city.
Now, after three postponements, the city calculates that it will reach that crisis point on July 9. At that point, the remaining water will go to hospitals and certain settlements that depend on communal faucets.
Most people in the city will run out of tap water for drinking, bathing or other uses. In this way, Cape Town could be just the first of many other cities that could have no access to clean water. However, the fact that the residents of the area have taken the necessary precautions to conserve the water could represent good news for Cape Town. The winter season begins on June 21, and according to AccuWeather Meteorologist James Andrews, some precipitation could be expected at this time.
"The climate of Cape Town has parallels to that of Northern California’s Bay Area. Both are Mediterranean climates, marked by dry summers and relatively rainy winters," said Andrews. Still, the problem appears to be more related to the demand of water in the area rather than the lack of significant precipitation in the Cape Town area.
"According to AccuWeather data, 2017 had 82 percent of normal rainfall (13.82 inches to be exact). This is, if accurate, a relatively small shortfall for a dry climate such as the Cape region. It could be that this is not representative of overall regional rainfall. Also, it could be that demand is more of a factor than the shortfall resulting from dearth of rainfall," Andrews added.
Although drought is but one of the many challenges facing the planet, it is necessary to highlight it within this context of major challenges because it will surely cause humanity to face great transformations and struggles for survival. Look at the photo gallery and discover what other major cities could face periods of drought and potential water crises in the future: Scarcity of water threatens large cities of the worldLook at the list of cities that may be affected by water shortages in the future.Sao PauloConsidered the most populated city in South America (21.7 million people), it has been showing symptoms of a severe drought since the past few years.
For the year 2015, the region suffered a great drought in which they were without water for 20 days.BangaloreWith a population of 1,300 million people, the city is trying to improve its aqueduct system to prevent a period of greater drought.
According to a report published by the BBC, 85 percent of the lakes in the city do not have water suitable for consumption. The biggest challenge facing the Indian city is the unbridled demographic growth.BeijingAccording to the World Bank, by 2015 40 percent of surface water was contaminated in Beijing. The city is home to 20 million inhabitants.Mexico CityMexico City imports over 40 percent of its water from other regions of the country, and they do not have an efficient wastewater management system.CairoKnown mostly for the Nile River, the city of Cairo has unbridled levels of industrial waste that end up in river deposits.
The UN mentions that it is the city with the most deaths due to water pollution in the world and foresees a major crisis for the year 2025.JakartaJakarta, a coastal city of Indonesia, is already experiencing sea level rise, causing 40 percent of the city to suffer from constant flooding.
Half of its 10 million inhabitants do not have access to a sewerage system.MoscowMoscow's problems with access to water date back to the Soviet Union era. Between 30 and 60 percent of its water is not drinkable.MiamiThe tropical climate of the region limits the amount of precipitation in the area. Due to the increase in sea levels, the scarce water resources that the city has are being salinized, becoming unfit for human consumption.IstanbulIstanbul suffers periods of drought practically every summer and its reservoirs have been reduced by at least 30 percent.
It is estimated that by 2030, the city will suffer a significant water crisis.LondonA recently published article made visible the pollution levels of the European capital. Despite the high levels of precipitation in the area, they do not have an efficient water channeling system. The local authorities foresee that there could be a serious shortage by the year 2040.TokyoSeventy percent of Tokyo's supplies come from surface water, which has caused the city to renew its infrastructure to maximize the collection of rainwater.
The city has 30 million inhabitants. - powered by Riddle
asked citizens to send questions about the water crisis for the City of Cape Town to answer. A few were selected and edited. Ian Neilson (Deputy Mayor), JP Smith (Mayco Member for Safety & Security and Social Services) and Priya Reddy (Director of Communications) responded. When will a detailed policy and operational plan be published on the Day Zero water collection points? JP Smith: It must be emphasised that this plan covers more than just the establishment and operation of the water collection points.
Much work has been done and the plan is subject to frequent updating in what is a very dynamic environment. Weekly briefings will be held going forward. If we want this Disaster Plan to be adopted with as little risk and inconvenience as possible, we need to look to the local context of each water distribution point. We need to anticipate what strategies households and businesses will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero – and how we can support these strategies instead of frustrating them.
We need to design and manage these collection points in a way that makes sense. It is essential that our approach is flexible enough to maximise efficiency as far as possible. There are some operational details of the water collection points which will undergo continuous refinement right up until Day Zero. In order to ensure effective implementation the Disaster Risk Management Team is labouring over questions such as: • What range and size of containers will people choose to use; • how will they carry these containers to and from the standpipe; • what time of day will they come to the collection point; • what transport will they opt to use to and from the collection point; • how will families and neighbours organise themselves to collect water in a way that makes sense; • who within the household or business will be designated to collect water and for how many people will they collect.
For the next two months we will be troubleshooting each water collection point so that if Day Zero arrives, people are able to collect water as quickly and safely as possible. The one thing that is certain is that even if these water collection points run as smoothly as possible, the act of collecting water will be a massive inconvenience for Capetonians.
If we don't want to queue, we will all need to save water now. Is it ok to use sea water to flush toilets? Ian Neilson: In general, the City does not encourage the large-scale household-level flushing of toilets with sea water. It could corrode parts of the reticulation infrastructure and our wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle high salinity.
As far as possible, residents are encouraged to use appropriate greywater and alternative sources, such as from boreholes, to flush toilets. As alternative resources could diminish due to usage limits, the City will flush the sewerage system at appropriate points.
This forms part of the comprehensive operational plan that the City is developing. Highly experienced and qualified engineers are working hard at putting measures in place that will ensure the system continues functioning as far as possible in the event of Day Zero occurring, to safeguard both public health and the infrastructure.
We are all having to reassess our relationship with water, and the City supports the move by residents to explore more sustainable water-wise technologies such as composting/waterless toilets. After Day Zero can we still use flush toilets if we flush with greywater? Or will the sewage system get clogged up due to lack of water? As a follow-up, what are the recommendations for toilet use following Day Zero?
Ian Neilson: Yes. Appropriate greywater and alternative sources can be used to flush toilets. Has the map for day zero cut off areas been finalized? Has the city published it? JP Smith: We will be providing more information on the points of distribution at a press briefing on 27 January 2018. At the moment 149 of the 200 sites have been confirmed and we will be erecting signage at these points within the coming weeks so that persons in these communities are aware of where their collection point will be situated.
These collection points will contain sections for pedestrian and vehicular collections in order to maximise efficiency as much as possible. What are businesses going to do that rely on water e.g. all the restaurants etc. If they are forced to close the economic impacts will be enormous. JP Smith: Strategic commercial areas, high-density areas with significant risk of increased burden of disease, such as informal settlements, and critical services, such as hospitals, old age homes, prisons, hospitals, fire stations, police stations, clinics, children homes, where possible, will continue to receive drinking water through normal channels.
Significant monitoring and enforcement will be put in place to ensure that water usage at these points is significantly reduced. We are engaging with as many of these organisations as possible to work out what will be the best way to meet their water needs in a Day Zero scenario. The crisis that we face requires a whole of society approach. We will be discussing what strategies organisations such as this will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero – and how we can support these strategies in our planning and implementation of the Water Disaster Plan.
How advanced are plans to use large scale desalination? How much water will desalination eventually bring online, and by when? Will these desalination plants be powered with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind?
Ian Neilson: Our modular reverse osmosis desalination plants are designed to have the smallest ecological footprint possible. An inter-governmental environmental monitoring team is also in place to monitor all projects.
The V&A desalination plant (two million litres per day) is planned to start producing water by March/April 2018. We are still on track for this. The Strandfontein plant (seven million litres per day) is due to start producing water from March 2018. The Monwabisi plant (seven million litres per day) has been delayed to facilitate further community engagement in the area.
The plant was due to start producing water by February, but four weeks of construction time has been lost to date. With the support of the community, the City is all hands on deck to get this project going again and to make up for delays. Any desalination plant contracts awarded to contractors as part of the City's Emergency Water Augmentation Scheme will be required to deliver water that must meet South African National Standards (SANS 241:2015) requirements.
These are the standards set nationally for drinking water quality. The City has a proud record of always meeting these standards. The desalination plants will have online monitoring equipment installed to check the efficacy of the desalination process and adherence to the SANS standard. After advice from the World Bank, the City shifted focus from desalination to optimising the use of aquifers in the short-term, as this is more cost effective and quicker to implement than temporary desalination plants.
The Cape Flats aquifer will deliver 80 million litres per day, the Table Mountain Group aquifer will deliver 40 million litres per day, and the Atlantis aquifer will deliver 30 million litres per day over 2017/18 and 2019/20. The groundwater abstraction projects form part of the City's programme to supply additional water from desalination, water recycling and groundwater abstraction. Abstracting groundwater in bigger volumes means that the City can deliver more water at a lower cost for the benefit of all residents of Cape Town.
In the past few days statements have been released by the mayor, the deputy-mayor, the premier and the head of the DA. These statements are sometimes inconsistent, and all give the impression of being in charge.
Who is in charge of the crisis? The mayor? The Deputy-Mayor? The Premier? And do any of them have expertise in the problem? Priya Reddy: From a City of Cape Town political leadership point of view, and as per the Council resolution taken on Friday 19 January 2018, the Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, who is a professional hydrological engineer by trade with a Master's degree in engineering; and the Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, have been delegated by City Council to take the political lead for water.
From a City administration point of view, Dr Gisela Kaiser, the Executive Director of Water and Sanitation and also the City's designated Chief Resilience Officer, and an engineer by profession; as well as Peter Flower, the Director of Water and Sanitation, and an engineer by profession; in conjunction with the City's executive management team, are the administrative principals. They are supported by a myriad of engineers, project managers and other professional officers who are working tirelessly to get Cape Town though this unprecedented drought.
Is a committee of experts being set up to deal with Cape Town's water problems? Who is it? When? And will the person who leads it be the main communicator to the public?
Ian Neilson: The City has a water resilience task team in place which consists of experts in water management and resilience. In addition, the City is supported by a Section 80 committee, whose meetings are open to the public, and which includes experts from the private sector, universities and civil society, among others. There have been media reports on new borehole regulations. And many people are now getting boreholes (or wellpoints) installed.
What are the rules on this (have they changed recently)? Are there serious consequences of too many people using wellpoints or boreholes? Can borehole water be used for flushing, bathing, dishwashing and laundry? Ian Neilson: Firstly, the City does not regulate borehole usage. The custodian of water resources is the National Department of Water and Sanitation. But the City has, in the implementation of previous water restrictions, encouraged conservative usage of borehole water.
We have recommended limited usage in accordance with water restrictions for municipally-supplied drinking water. Our soon to be implemented Level 6b restrictions make further recommendations for the use of boreholes. It is not in the City's mandate to regulate the usage of groundwater sources, but we have tried as far as possible to drive the message home that unlimited usage of boreholes will not be sustainable.
The main consideration here is that private boreholes are not recharged. Private users do not replace the underground water that is used. This is in contrast to the City's aquifer programme, where aquifer recharge will be a non-negotiable aspect of abstraction.
Our goal is not only to survive the drought and to thrive despite it, but to change our relationship with water. We advocate for the sustainable use of borehole water for indoor purposes but we do not support the use of borehole water for outdoor purposes, such as gardening. The National Department of Water and Sanitation should also please be approached for information on their borehole management efforts. Why has the city not (substantially) reduced pressure on water?
Would this result in some areas being cut off? But then can't special provisions be made for these areas in the meanwhile? Ian Neilson: The City has in fact been substantially reducing water pressure since March 2017.
Our engineers have been reducing water pressure in the bulk pipes at our reservoirs as well as in the reticulation network that feeds our households. Much of this work has been an engineering-first.
Water flows to a property because of the action of water pressure. For the water to reach different areas, pressure must be managed. This is done by controlling the flow of water to every area in the city. Some areas in the city are located at lower points, while others are located higher up. Water, like everything else, is bound by the laws of gravity. So, it will either flow downwards or it will remain at the same level. If we want it to get to higher-lying areas, or properties located on high ground or into tall buildings, we need to use valves and pumps to get it to those areas.
To get through this drought, there are water restrictions and water usage limits in place. We then provide the allowable water to an area. If everyone stays within their daily usage limit, households should not be affected by rationing. But if people in a lower-lying area do not stick to this allocation, people in higher-lying areas are affected. Even with reduced pressure, lower-lying areas will have water as it flows easier because of gravity.
But, if the flow is reduced, the water does not have sufficient pressure to flow to higher-lying areas or buildings.
That is why tall buildings and higher-lying areas will often be affected by pressure management. Some areas will not have water. The City's water reticulation network provides water at pressures between 2.4 and 9 bar. Operational staff have lowered the pressures across the City but the intention is to keep the system pressurised (keep water flowing). This is because a lot of damage could be done if we switch off this pressure system entirely.
High-rise buildings and dwellings located 10m or higher than road level will be impacted indefinitely but theoretically everyone living at ground level should have water supply at their metered connection. However, when many users draw water at once, a peak in the demand is created. This happens when, for example, people tend to do laundry in the morning or shower at more or less the same time during the day.
This peak (typically between 5am and 9am and between 5pm and 9pm) will draw down the system creating a temporary outage. In this case the system should recover once the demand decreases, i.e.
after the washing is on the line. Residents on higher-lying areas within pressure zones are vulnerable and their water supply is dependent on their lower-lying neighbours. From our reservoirs, we have allocated the precise amount of water that could be required for essential usage while protecting the resources that we have left. Nothing more is given than what is required. It is therefore up to all of us to ensure that we stick to our daily limits. When pressure management is introduced, it remains active in an area all the time.
No outages are planned as they are solely dependent on the behaviour of users. Because we cannot physically control the behaviour of users, we cannot guess how long it will take for an area to get its water usage down to what is required.
Further advanced pressure management is being rolled out, with some areas at 0.5 bars and lower. But, adjustments may be made on an hourly basis if required. That is why the City has been advising since March to keep some water for non-essential use but not to store excessive municipal water. Bringing down the demand through pressure management and communication to promote water reduction among our users has been a vital intervention in helping to buy us time and to stretch our water supplies further.
Is the city's water system sophisticated enough to selectively cut off areas and supply the water distribution points?
Ian Neilson: Yes. Water collection points, which will be one of the means of distributing water, have been located near reticulation points. What plans does the City have for less able and vulnerable people to get water from Day Zero? There are many older persons who do not have transport, who live in apartments without lifts, who do not have family or friends to assist them, who don't have the finances to use third-parties to pay for collection of water nor do they have the physical capacity to carry water.
JP Smith: We are very aware that special provisions need to be made to ensure that all people are able to access water, particularly those who are physically unable to collect it from a water collection point. We are engaging with international organisations, National Government, Provincial Government, businesses, communities and NGOs to support us to care for our most vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, during this time.
Information sessions are being set up with neighbourhood watches, NGOs, religious organisations and community groups to brief them on the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan and what role they will need to play in ensuring that all persons are able to access their 25 litres of water per day.
Ensuring that the persons described above are able to access water during this time will require a massive coordination effort from government and civil society. As part of the information sessions, we will be asking partners to gather information on extremely vulnerable persons in the areas where they operate. Subcouncils and ward committees will be involved in the identification of vulnerable persons in their areas and aligning these with local community-based organisations who can assist them during this time of crisis.
Has the City put in place a public health program to address potential health problems, eg water borne diseases such as cholera? JP Smith: 1. The City is part of an established outbreak response team together with Provincial Government. 2. All notifiable cases of disease are investigated thoroughly to determine the source and to ensure that appropriate containment measures are enacted, where necessary. 3. Health officers are actively monitoring the incidence of cases during the diarrhoeal season to pick up trends in order to ensure rapid responses to disease outbreaks 4.
Healthcare facilities ensure that individuals who are sick and dehydrated (especially children) receive priority treatment to prevent disease progression. Is the city stockpiling antibiotics? JP Smith: The City's clinics will be capacitated to see to those in need.
Will the city be providing cheap alcohol based hand sanitisers for people to use? JP Smith: The City will advise on methods to sanitise hands and will provide assistance at water collection sites as far as possible. The City will be promoting the squeezie bottle as a means of ensuring that hands can be washed regularly under running water at a time when households do not have access to running water from their taps.
Guidelines on how households can make their own squeezie bottle are being promoted in the current disease prevention campaign and these guidelines will also be advertised at the water collection sites via posters and pamphlets. City officials will also be present at the points to actively promote this device and provide guidance on health and hygiene. Will the City provide public transport services to help people get to and from water points and will these be free?
JP Smith: Able-bodied residents will need to find their own way of getting to and from the collection points. Public transport will be available as usual. Other distribution mechanisms are being investigated.
We are selecting sites to try and provide reasonable access to as many residents as possible and are talking to civil society about ways to assist vulnerable people. Accessibility via public transport was one of the considerations which determined the suitability of the water collection points chosen. We are selecting sites to try and provide reasonable access to as many residents as possible. Public transport will continue to operate as per usual during this time.
Drop-off points for buses and taxis have been incorporated into the design of the water collection points. The majority of water collection points will also have a drive-through water collection option, which will operate in a similar way to a petrol station. Persons will be able to fill containers with water without having to remove them from their private vehicles or mini-bus taxi. This is anticipated to increase the efficiency of the water collection points and assist persons who are not physically able to carry water from water collection points.
Other distribution mechanisms are being investigated where it is unfeasible for persons to collect water themselves from a water collection point, such as the use of water tankers. We are talking to civil society about ways to assist vulnerable people during this time. Will the water collection points be able to manage inclement weather?
JP Smith: Yes, where possible shading will be provided to protect those queuing from the sun. However, residents are advised to prepare as they normally would for inclement weather. Will the city provide information informing people of the need to keep hands clean above all else during the Day Zero period and discouraging handshaking? JP Smith: Yes, the City will provide sanitary guidelines. The City is advising the following: • Preventative measures: • Increased health and hygiene programmes • City clinics have regular health talks about the prevention of water- and food-borne diseases and diarrhoea danger signs.
• Health posters at water collection sites • People should not stop their normal precautionary health measures during this crisis The public is encouraged to continue with their routine visits to health clinics and ensure that immunisations of all family members are up to date.
The City will continue to promote childhood vaccinations at all its healthcare facilities When persons display symptoms of dehydration they should drink a sugar/salt solution (Half a teaspoon of salt, eight teaspoons of sugar in one litre of water) and if the symptoms persist then proceed to the nearest clinic for treatment. Will schools and universities be prioritised as water collection points so that they can continue operating too?
JP Smith: It will largely be left up to relevant role-players in these sectors to determine suitable contingency plans and concessions for employees and students. In terms of educational facilities, this would be for schools, governing bodies and the relevant government departments to collectively decide on. Residents should be aware that the Day Zero phase is an extreme disaster scenario, and significant disruption of daily life is to be expected. Many schools do have boreholes and the Western Cape Education Department is working to fast-track the roll-out of boreholes at schools in the coming months.
Being connected to borehole water would mean that these schools would be able to keep their toilets operating even if they are not being supplied with water via the reticulation system. Are there plans for providing water to essential services if the water levels drop to a point where water can't be provided? JP Smith: Yes. The City is procuring water tankers to assist with the provision of water to essential services which are no longer supplied with water via the reticulation system.
However, as stated above, critical infrastructure and essential services have been prioritised for continued supply of water via the reticulation system. It is largely residential areas which will no longer be able to be provided with water via the reticulation system. Is the city going to ensure that bottled water companies don't price gouge? Ian Neilson: The City has engaged with major retailers to get an undertaking that bottled water will be sold at fair prices. Are plans being made to collect the excess plastic that will result from the huge increase in bottled water sales?
Ian Neilson: The City's drop-off facilities will be key. We have diverted more than 50% of our waste from landfills already, and we expect this practice to continue.
The city claims about 60% of people aren't saving water. How does it calculate this? And what steps are being taken to stop people using excessive water? Ian Neilson: This is based on the billing information of account holders. It looks at what should be paid if one is within the limits, and then identifies the account holders who are over that and who have not applied for quota increases.
Daily enforcement operations are ongoing, public awareness campaigns carry on and the installation of water management devices for high water users at their cost (currently, more than 2,000 per week are being fitted and we aim to increase this to more than 3,500 per week).
The pending implementation of new water and sanitation tariffs will also aim to change behaviour. High tariffs for the highest users will assist to drive down consumption. What steps is the city taking to go to businesses and inform/discuss with them how to save water, and how to continue operating during Day Zero? Ian Neilson: Business sector engagements have been taking place over the past months and further engagements are ongoing.
The City is also sending out information directly to these stakeholders in an effort to advise them of lowering consumption and preparing their operations if Day Zero is reached.
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