The City of Cape Town has been declared a local disaster area as it tries to deal with the region’s dwindling water supply.
Mayor Patricia de Lille says declaring Cape Town a disaster area will facilitate the movement of resources. She adds, “Reallocating money and moving it around can sometimes be a very long process, but if there is a major crisis or emergency it allows the city to speed up emergency procurement procedures.”
Levels at the city’s feeder dams have now dropped to 31.5% and although water consumption has decreased to 783 million litres the state of urgency to uphold water restrictions remains the city’s best long-term prospect.
The municipality's Xanthea Limberg says, “At the current drawdown of dams we could be looking at approximately 113 days of usable water left. It must be noted that consumption has broken through the 800ml barrier for the first time. At the same time this declaration is not an excuse for our residence not to carry on reducing consumption.”
The Western Cape government says the province could run out of fresh water in dams by 2019 if water resources are not managed properly.
Government has predicted fresh water demand will exceed supply, due to population growth and limited water resources.
Experts such as those at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) say the province will survive the current dry season, but they warn government needs to start implementing long-term solutions to increase supply before the situation reaches a critical level.