Cape Town city wants water allocation unchanged

Drought conditions
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The City of Cape Town says it is asking national government to keep the Metro’s water allocation unchanged.

It says if the request is granted, it can more efficiently manage the resource in light of the current drought.

Deputy Mayor, Ian Nielsen and DA leader, Mmusi Maimane briefed the media on the City’s water situation on Wednesday.

They say a total of 97 million litres of water per day still needs to be saved in order to avert the day taps run dry.

A collective daily target of 450 million litres must be reached in order to defeat Day Zero altogether.

Maimane says augmentation projects are on track to start supplying millions of litres to the supply system in the coming months.

Further reducing consumption remains a key element in ensuring that taps do not run dry.

“When we started, it was on the 12th of April – and now a little less than a month – it is now the 11th of May… and I am confident that as we sit here today, we will continue to expand that due date even further more.  I do think that it’s important to note that our dam levels are sitting at 25.5% at this stage, and over the past seven days the city has consumed an average of over 547 million litres per day, which is significant improvement from last week.”

Maimane, who heads a drought crisis task team, recently took over the communications around the water crisis, and has been giving regular updates on the situation.

He has come under criticism for intervening; with some saying he has no constitutional authority to do so.

Constitutional Law Expert Pierre de Vos says, “Legally, constitutionally he cannot do that, because he does not have an elected position in either the city or the province, the people who have to deal with the crisis. Neither does he have a position in national government who must also deal with the crisis.”

City officials meanwhile say it is crucial that Cape Town’s water allocation from national government remains unchanged.

Nielsen says Cape Town has been allocated 174, 700 mega litres at the start of the hydrological year in November.

“Our concern is the 174.7 million (cubic metres) that’s allocated to us and whether that is protected, whether the national department, the Minister, will ensure that we will get that allocation… that they will not for example reopen the issue of the allocation, to whomever else; there’s more than just the two parties, there’s other municipalities and so on, and thereby endanger the allocation that’s been given to Cape Town. ”

Dam levels are currently at 25.5% and Day Zero is predicted for the 11th of May.