Water crisis: Cape Town council curtails De Lille's powers

Car washing is banned in Cape Town

Car washing is banned in Cape Town Image sourced

Water consumption in Cape Town has almost halved since early 2016, but has remained stubbornly high at around 620 million litres per day - 120 million litres above the city's target.

Limberg said the dire situation was being worsened by some people ignoring a push for residents and visitors to use no more than 87 litres of water per person per day.

When Cape Town does reach "Day Zero", in accordance to Cape Town's disaster plan, authorities will turn off the taps and install some 200 water collection sites across the city.

Some residents have already been forced to join queues for emergency rations amid warnings that "Day Zero" - the date taps will run dry - has crept forward to 22 April.

Travel and tourism accounted for an estimated 9 percent or $33 billion of South Africa's economic output past year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Western Cape leader of the official opposition Xolani Sotashe couldn't hold back his excitement as he left the sitting at what he described was a triumph for the ANC and the demise of the DA in the city.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has warned that if rains do not materialise and drastic consumption reductions are not achieved the normal water supply will be shut off.

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The drought-stricken city announced on Thursday that it will begin marking 200 collection points where its 3.7 million residents will be required to queue for a rationed supply of water on "Day Zero" - now forecast to be April 21.

A maximum 25 litres of water will be provided to each person every day, officials said.

The hospitality industry also said it was doing its best to help, limiting showers to two minutes and using water used for washing dishes and clothes to water gardens.

Ms De Lille said daily water consumption remained above 500 million litres-a-day target while dam storage had fallen below 30 per cent.

"We have reached a point of no return".

What's even more worrying, in the context of Cape Town's imminent crisis, is that according to NASA data from 2015, South Africa's largest aquifer in the Karoo Basin was not one of the 21, and Cape Town was not among the regions most in danger of freshwater depletion.

"I am concerned we will run out of water and it is hard", said Susan Jones, a grandmother who regularly visits the Newlands spring taps.

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