"The City may now invoke emergency procurement procedures if required to expedite the emergency and accelerated water resource schemes."Just last month, Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille, announced that even harsher measures will be put in place. The aim is to limit the city's water usage to 500 million litres per day.
"The City is confident that we can bring emergency schemes online in time for this to be avoided, however this will depend on residents’ response to the water restrictions and usage targets," explains Limberg.The dams are currently only 27% full, and this is on a steady decrease.
"It is hoped that through a combination of responsible water usage by residents and the accelerated implementation of emergency supply schemes, this can be avoided."If the city should come closer to Day Zero, however, authorities have promised to advise the public with the next steps. The Water Research Commission believes that the city has left the water crisis too late. The Commission believes that if there was proper planning, we might not be in the situation that we are currently in.
"If there was a proactive plan in place, the impact of the water crisis would have been minimal compared to the situation we’re in now. The community of practice warned both the Agriculture and Water sectors about these looming disasters through climate advisory information from various knowledge generation organisations but it looks like the information was not taken seriously."These are the words of the Water Research Commission's Research Manager, Sylvester Mpandeli.
"It is the National Department of Water and Sanitation that is responsible for deciding when new schemes need to come online.This being said, it is not possible for anyone predict drought reliably enough to ringfence billions of rand for new water supply schemes. "The City claims that they have done everything to ensure that the right water restrictions were implemented. The first set of water restrictions that the city saw was in late 2015 when there were already signs of a drought. In the past 18 -24 months, there has been abnormal rainfall in the Western Cape and that has contributed to the current situation. The Water Research Commission is also trying to do their part to ensure that the country doesn't face serious danger.
"The Water Research Commission (WRC) is looking at various water technologies that can assist the water sector to tackle water issues,but the WRC cannot solve the water challenges alone. It needs strategic partners to tackle the water issues including community of practice, scientists, policy makers etc."
"Food security and jobs will always be affected if there’s water crisis, however these two issues are interlinked, therefore there’s a need for government to come up with strategic interventions in order to minimized the impact and the threats posed by water crisis," explains Mpandeli.
"New infrastructure to increase our drought resilience does come with a cost, and as such there is likely to be an impact on water prices in the future. We will continue to explore alternative funding mechanisms to minimize the impact on consumers, but the days of very cheap water are, in all likelihood, behind us."The city also intends to fine those who exceed more than 20 000 litres of water a month. Fines could vary between R5 000 - R10 000.
"Indigent households, despite increased tariffs, are still able to access 10,5 kl/month for free," adds Limberg.We can only hold our breath now and watch the water crisis unfold. In the meantime, best you stock up on some water just in case the water really does run out!
Make sure that you are fully covered for any eventuality. Get the most affordable car insurance here!