In May 2014, Cape Town’s major dams and reservoirs were at 72 per cent capacity. By May 2017, after three years of drought, levels were down to 21 per cent. By October only five months of water was left in storage. The city declared an impending “Day Zero” when water taps would be turned off and residents would have to go to public water distribution points. The declaration triggered panic — but also action. A series of water efficiency measures ensured that Cape Town’s total water demand fell from 600 million litres per day (mld) in mid-2017 to 507 mld by April 2018 (short of the 450 mld target but significant nonetheless). In June 2018, authorities postponed Day Zero indefinitely.
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First Published: Tue, July 23 2019. 01:18 IST