City Restricts Water Use to One Toilet Flush and 90-Second Shower Per Day

By Ogova Ondego
Published January 26, 2018

The acute water shortage isn't just a Cape Town problem as, experts warn, two thirds of the world shall face this problem from 2025 due to the changing climate patterns. What would you do if water stopped flowing in your tap?

Believe it or not, this is what is likely to happen  in Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest modern  city in less than three months from today as it is running out of water for use by its estimated four million residents.

Cape Town, the tourism mecca  that grew into a modern metropolis after the 1652 landing of the Dutch East India Company merchant ships from Holland under the command of Jan Van Riebeeck on the site of what is today South Africa’s Western Cape Province, is running out of water.

Referring to April 12, 2018 Day Zero as it is the date on which taps for residents are likely to be turned off, authorities in Cape Town City are resorting to what could be termed as desperate measures employed during desperate times. Patricia de Lille, the Executive Mayor  of the City, had in October 2017 asked Capetonians to limit their water use to 87 litres per day. This limit has now been revised downwards to 50 litres a day and, unless fortunes change, could continue going further down as Day Zero approaches.

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But this acute water shortage isn’t just a Cape Town problem as, experts warn, two thirds of the world could face this problem from 2025 due to the changing climate patterns.

As the water shortage continues to bite, Capetonians have been advised against flushing the toilet unless where it is ABSOLUTELY necessary: ‘If it is yellow, let it mellow; if brown, flush it,’ the city government says in its water conservation campaign messages.

Capetonians have been advised against flushing the toilet unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary; if it is yellow, let it mellow; if brown, flush it,' the city government says in its water conservation campaigm messages.“‘Flushing only when it’s needed can help save up to 9 litres of water per flush. #ThinkWaterCT.'” is one of the media messages from Cape Town whose government says it is “drilling boreholes into the Table Mountain Group Aquifer and a small-scale desalination package plant, located along Cape Town’s
north-western coastline.”

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But that hardly placates some angry residents who accuse the city managers of having failed in its water management.

Cape Town, the tourist mecca that grew into a modern metropolis after the 1652 landing of merchant ships from Holland under the command of Jan Van Riebek“You idiots have approved using drinking water to wash cars and flush toilets (and many, many more) for ages…Totally absurd and short sighted,” a resident writes on the page of Cape Town City Government on Facebook.

Authorities say they shall from February 1, 2018 introduce new water restrictions through which they will also punish ‘wasteful water users with a seven-fold increase in the cost of water’.

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Meanwhile, the city says it hopesto augment its water supply through desalination, water aquifers and treated effluence.

The Government of Cape Town City says it is "drilling boreholes into the Table Mountain Group Aquifer and a small-scale desalination package plant, located along Cape Town’s north-western coastline" to defeat Day ZeroIs the city doing enough? What would you do differently if you were faced by the biting water shortage confronting South Africa’s Mother City today?