Day zero has arrived for Beaufort West as the dam in the Central Karoo town has run out of water, leaving residents to rely on cleansed borehole water and recycled sewerage water.
The Western Cape Local Government Department's James-Brent Styan says that the Gamka Dam, which is the main source of drinking water for Beaufort West residents is empty.
“It's no longer usable to provide water to the town of 37,000 people. Beaufort West is currently relying on about 34 boreholes and seeking funding to drill an additional five more.”
There are now fears boreholes could soon hit rock bottom as well.
It's a sobering reminder for Cape Town where daily water consumption has increased past the recommended maximum water usage set in place to mitigate the ongoing crisis.
Last week, dam storage levels declined by 0,7% to 37,8% (27,8% useable water) in Cape Town. Collective usage was at 602 million litres per day. This is 102 million litres above what is required for the city to get through the drought.
Despite many critics saying that the Cape Town city officials have done too little too late, emergency plans for all eventualities have now been outlined for the metros residents. Cuts to water pressure and water collection points have been implemented in certain areas with seemingly little effect.
Recently, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba allowed the use of emergency funds to aid the Western Cape in their time of need; a move which has been warmly welcomed by the provincial government and one which could lead to emergency water retainment and procuring methods to be explored as early as January next year.