South Africa has pushed back ‘Day Zero’ – the day Cape Town’s taps were expected to run dry because of a ravaging drought – to June 4 after citizens and the government managed to reduce water consumption.
The country, however, has declared the drought a national disaster, BBC reported. This means the national government will take over relief efforts. The drought has affected three of its nine provinces in the southern and western regions.
In January, authorities had said taps were expected to run dry in April, after which residents will be forced to stand in queues for emergency rations. But with ongoing conservation efforts, the date was first pushed back to May, and now by another month.
On Tuesday, Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, which runs the city of Cape Town and the Western Cape province said on Twitter, “Thanks to the efforts of Cape Town residents, consumption dropped to 526 million litres per day.”
Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson also said that over the past week, water consumption in Cape Town reduced mainly due to the city’s efforts to regulate the water flow and residents’ cooperation to reduce consumption, Reuters reported.
In a notice in the government gazette, the Department of Co-operative Governance said last week it had decided to label the drought a national disaster after studying its “magnitude and severity”, local news website eNCA reported.
Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen told eNCA that more than 70 million rand (Rs 37 crore) has already been allocated to deal with the drought.