Cape Town drought hits tourism, threatens province's credit ratings
08 February, 2018, 00:12 | Author: Celia Hoffman
The water crisis facing Cape Town and the rest of the country is "far too serious a matter" for it to be left to politicians to deal with.
Cape Town is home to many wealthy residents who have swimming pools and sprinkler systems, although the city does not want to play a "blame game" as lots of affluent residents are saving water, she said.
Day zero is now forecast for 11 May, which is nearly a month later than the forecast of 16 April last week.
Some 70 percent of water used in Cape Town is consumed in homes, authorities say.
Day zero was originally projected by the city to be April 12, but earlier this week was pushed back to May 11, thanks to savings by residents and lower demands from the agricultural sector in recent weeks.
"We can not afford to lose momentum now. day zero is still a very real possibility if we take our focus off saving water".
But Cape Town is not the only city in danger of drought. People restrict how often and how long they shower, wash clothes and flush toilets in order to conserve water. Agriculture had been allocated 58-million cubic metres of water, he said.
Water supplies to the city are under threat because, according to scientists, rainfall in the area is coming later and dropping more erratically, often missing its catchment areas.
He's told the Water and Sanitation Committee that this is only possible if the city reduces its water supply to 450 million litres a day.
Tourism Business Council deputy chairperson and Tsogo Sun COO Ravi Nadasen agreed that the economic impact of tourism far outweighed the "burden" of increased consumption and encouraged businesspersons and tourists to continue visiting the province, as contingency plans were in place and many measures have been undertaken to mitigate the impact of the drought. It's expected there will be a heavy police presence at these sites to ensure riots don't break out and citizens take more water than they're entitled.
Neilson said when alternative water sources were being looked at‚ tenders had been issued for desalination and it only later became apparent that it was the most expensive option.
There's no denying the region has been hit hard by a severe drought for the last three years.
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