Cape Town Limits Water Use, Approaches ‘Day Zero’

Feb 1, 2018

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Cape Town is currently in the midst of a severe drought crisis, the worst in over a century. In recent weeks, city officials implemented a water restriction policy which limited each resident to 87 liters (or 23 gallons) of household water usage per day. 

Beginning February 1, Cape Town residents and visitors will be limited to a daily maximum of 50 liters (13 gallons) of water use per person. The Western Cape city is currently facing the reality of running out of water in three months. 

With nearly 4 million residents, Cape Town is South Africa’s second-most populous city and the provincial capital of the Western Cape. If water levels continue to fall, the city will implement a water disaster plan known as “Day Zero,” for mid- April.

On this day, residents will be further limited to just 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water, which they will be able to collect only from one of 200 stations. To put that into perspective, each collection point will have to accommodate the water needs of 20,000 Capetonians, according to CNN,

Cape Town residents queue to refill water bottles at Newlands Brewery Spring Water Point on January 30, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Morgana Wingard/Getty Images)
Cape Town residents queue to refill water bottles at Newlands Brewery Spring Water Point on January 30, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Morgana Wingard/Getty Images)

In addition to these restrictions, the government will enforced fines to households using excessive amounts of drinking water or have water-management devices installed on the properties, according to the city’s website. 

Under this new restrictions, households are limited to the following:


“It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero,” the mayor’s office said in January. “We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them.”

Feature photo by Morgana Wingard/Getty Images

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