South Africa’s Cape Town launches disaster centre to manage drought

South Africa’s tourist metropolis, Cape Town, on Monday launched a disaster operations centre to prepare for “Day Zero” on April 12, when the drought-stricken city is predicted to run out of water.


The 86 staff of the centre will “clarify all logistics of the operational plan for ‘Day Zero,’” City of Cape Town spokeswoman, Priya Reddy said.


It will pinpoint 200 water distribution points where residents will be able to collect 25 litres of water per person per day under police and military supervision once the taps have been turned off, Reddy said.


The centre will also identify in which economic hubs water will continue to run, make a plan for possible emergency measures and decide how to assist vulnerable groups, the spokeswoman added.


To prevent “Day Zero,” Cape Town residents will be limited to using 50 litres per person per day from Feb. 1, down from the current restriction of 87 litres per person per day.


The city is currently using more than 600 million litres of water per day, according to City of Cape Town water supply manager, Barry Wood.


The consumption needs to decrease to 450 million litres per day to avert “Day Zero.”


While reducing household consumption, the city is also implementing an emergency plan for desalination, groundwater and water reuse to make more water available.


Cape Town, located in the southern hemisphere, is currently in mid-summer, with the rainy season only expected to start in May or June.

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