Drop in dam levels brings Day Zero closer

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The taps of the City of Cape Town are expected to run dry sooner than anticipated following a drop in dam levels this week that has brought Day Zero closer.

“Unfortunately, due to a drop in the dam levels of 1.4%, Day Zero has, as of today (Tuesday), moved forward to 12 April 2018,” said the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor Alderman Neilson.

Prior to the recent drop in dam levels, Day Zero was set to arrive in the City by 22 April 2018.

The Deputy Mayor appealed to Capetonians who are not saving water to start doing so.

“To those of you who are not yet part of the massive water-saving efforts that are under way in Cape Town, we urge you to join friends, neighbours, colleagues and Team Cape Town as a whole in beating back Day Zero,” said Deputy Mayor Neilson.

The Deputy Mayor however remained hopeful that if residents pulled their weight, it was still possible to push back Day Zero.

“Now is the time to do so. We will not be getting second chances,” said the Deputy Mayor.

He thanked Capetonians who have been redoubling their efforts to save water. 

Day Zero plans

In preparation for Day Zero, the City is rolling out aggressive pressure management operations across the city.

“The City is installing thousands of water management devices on the properties of high users and ensuring that we better our record low overall water loss percentage of 16% as compared to the national average of 36%,” said the Deputy Mayor.

The City said their average first response time to reported leaks and bursts is less than two hours.

“Our desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects aimed at providing additional water are ongoing but will not provide sufficient supply to help us avoid Day Zero this year. They will, however, help us to become more resilient in weathering our next dry season,” said Deputy Mayor Nielson.

Residents have been urged to keep track of water usage by making use of the water dashboard on the City’s website.

This week’s dashboard:


Dam levels


-       1,4% down

% of Cape Town saving



Total usage

586 million litres per day

86 million above the target

From 1 February the critical threshold will be 450 million litres per day. Users will be required to use 50 litres per person per day for 150 days at least.

“We are in the process of finalising our operational plan for Day Zero. Our Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan draws from international best practices, and decisions around the basic design and distribution of water collection points reflect what other cities around the world have implemented when faced with extreme drought conditions,” said the Deputy Mayor.

He said the Disaster Risk Management Department is devising plans for Day Zero water collection points.

“It is important we manage and organise these water distribution points in a way that does not frustrate household or business strategies to access water as efficiently as possible. It is crucial that we spend the time to troubleshoot these water distribution points effectively,” said Deputy Mayor Nielson.

This involves anticipating what strategies households and businesses will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero.

“In addition to looking at water provision and distribution, the plan will also focus on safety and security, health and sanitation, as well as mobilising communities to help us assist vulnerable groups and individuals,” said the Deputy Mayor.

The City announced that it will schedule a briefing on the water collection plan within the next 10 days. - SAnews.gov.za