People queue for water at Newlands Spring, Cape Town, in late January 2018. (Nazeem Davids)
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Cape Town has moved from surviving Day Zero – when public taps will be switched off – to focusing on water resilience and being more water wise, according to Gavin Kode, deputy director general of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.
Kode, speaking at the 12th Green Building Convention hosted by the Green Building Council of SA in Cape Town this week, said the big question is whether Day Zero will loom again for the Mother City .
“Resilience is needed as rapid urbanisation is a reality. Therefore, new challenges are coming, and, because of climate change, the Cape will become hotter and dryer.
“We need a greater water mix as we are too reliant on surface water and we would still have to see what happens with the rain we get next year.”
A large part of the reduction in water usage obtained in the city was through water pressure management. The city is also going into the summer season of higher water consumption.
READ: Day Zero coming back to haunt Cape Town – salvage expert
Ashley Hemraj, a senior architect at the City of Cape Town, said he was shocked at how little Capetonians understand the city’s water system.
“They think that if water arrives easily by opening a tap, they can use and abuse it. But our water system is much more complex. So, the City had to spend a lot of money on educating people,” he added.
He explained that half the problem is that it does not rain where the catchment areas are. On top of that, the population growth creates a need for more dams. Yet, there are no plans to build more dams at the moment.
“The majority of rain in the city is going into the sea, therefore, we need to catch more of this water,” he said.
“We must have a net-positive approach by looking at the full footprint of water.”
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