Home / Others / In Cape Town, the & # 39; Day Zero & # 39; It will arrive very soon, the day when the water runs out

In Cape Town, the & # 39; Day Zero & # 39; It will arrive very soon, the day when the water runs out

The second largest city in South Africa faces its worst drought in a century, and the water supply is expected to dry on April 21.

They call it "Day Zero". In this city of 4 million, people will have to line up on the streets in only 200 water stations. The police and the army will apply a 6.6-gallon limit per person and will take measures to control the crowds. Some experts believe that evacuations will be necessary.

If the city runs out of water, it will be the first major city in a developed country to do so.

But a number of details of the crisis plan remain unclear. How could a person carry 26 gallons of water for a family of four? How would the elderly and the disabled cope? What about the fact that officials expect there will not be enough water to clean the city's toilets?

"Much of the logistics is unknown, and that is worrisome and is causing a lot of alarm, we just never get any response, which tells us there is no plan," said resident Brigetti Lim Banda, who started a page of Facebook about the water crisis. "We are at the point where it is impossible to avoid Day Zero."

Last week, the city government of Cape Town moved Zero Day one week to April 22, blaming citizens for using too much water. This week, he advanced ominously again, for a day.

After three years of drought, cities in eastern and southern Africa have faced problems, and some have already had to import water. None, however, is as big as Cape Town.

The problem is reduced to the strong population growth and the impossibility of planning alternative water sources to increase the reservoirs behind six dams, some of which rapidly diminish to arid extensions of sand. Dams have dropped to 15.2% usable water capacity, compared to 77% in September 2015.

"I think it is a very serious threat. No one saw how serious the crisis could be until recently, "said Magalie Bourblanc, public policy analyst at the Center for the Study of Innovation in Governance at the University of Pretoria." They need to prepare the population for that. "[19659002] Cape Town, capital of the Western Cape province of South Africa, faces a long-term water problem due to climate change and drought, as seen in recent years in Australia, India and the western United States.

But the water crisis has been aggravated by failures of government planning and the passage of money between national and municipal governments. [19659002Familieswhosewaterwaterrepairhasawaterpipelineinstalledin

The city withdrew a drought tax and an initial plan to embarrass consumers of flagrant water by publishing an Internet map of each household with red dots the worst abusers Per or this week launched a lighter version of the map, with green dots that identify those who meet targets.

The city forbade filling pools, washing cars, watering sidewalks and watering gardens, golf courses or sports fields using municipal water. . Game pools and ornamental fountains are prohibited.

The means to save water abound in social networks. A resident, Shafeek Davids, posted videos of himself in the shower, showing how to reduce use to only six pints, standing in a bucket, soaking briefly, lathering and then rinsing.

Bourblanc said that Cape Town's municipal authorities also reacted late to the crisis, despite the warnings of 2004.

Until recently, the city rejected the idea of ​​a desalination plant as too expensive, but now it has a series of new water projects, including desalination plants, recycled water (which purify reclaimed water) and new efforts to extract groundwater. But all but one of these efforts are delayed, and experts fear that they will not prevent the arrival of Day Zero.

"That was the mistake of Cape Town, ignoring those early warnings and relying solely on water conservation and water demand management." Bourblanc said. "It was based on normal rainfall conditions, and in South Africa, you can never trust that, there was no other plan to quickly increase the water supply."

The national government is responsible for the construction of water infrastructure, and the municipalities distribute water. But part of the problem is political. The opposition Democratic Alliance gained control of the city in 2006 and the province in 2009.

Western Cape Prime Minister Helen Zille and provincial authorities accused the national government of the African National Congress of not building and maintaining new infrastructure and sending adequate emergency relief. It was not until August that the national government assigned the city $ 1.5 million to deal with the crisis.

But Turton, from the Environmental Management Center, said both parties were at fault.

"Politicians have been trying to divert their guilt from themselves, and none of that energy has been focused on what we are going to do about it," he said. "The response of the national government, the ANC, has been almost deliberately to starve the province and the infrastructure they needed."

For his part, Turton said, city authorities did not recognize the impact of rapid population growth on water demand. The population of the city has doubled since 1999.

"The city did not understand the depth of the crisis," he said. "They incorrectly assumed that it is a short-term drought and that the problem will disappear when the drought is over"

Source link