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‘Time for City of CT to share details of water crisis plans with residents’

Water expert Kevin Winter says it’s important for water saving measures to be implemented now during Phase 1 of the city’s three-stage plan.

FILE: Capetonians are getting creative when it comes to saving water. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – A University of Cape Town (UCT) water expert says it is crucial that the City of Cape Town starts sharing timeframes and implementation strategies to adequately inform residents about water crisis plans.

Mayor Patricia de Lille this week announced a three-phase plan to manage dam levels which could reach 0% in terms of usable water in March.

To avoid that, the city must drop its consumption from more than 600 litres of water per day to 500 million.

UCT’s Future Water Institute’s Kevin Winter says it’s important for water saving measures to be implemented now during Phase 1 of the city’s three-stage plan.

“Phase 1 is absolutely crucial right now for us to try and get to that 500 million litres per day mark.”

Winter reiterates the city’s call for residents to help it reduce consumption to 500 million litres per day.

“We’ve got to get down to this 500 million litres because that’s the only way we are going to get to the rainfall, should it come, hopefully in 2018.”

Winter adds the city also has to properly communicate more details about their contingency plans.

He says a lot of details are missing from the city's three-stage plan.

“We have to insist that the city start to put time frames, costs and implementation strategies in place as soon as possible. Particularly to counteract the kind of emotions that arise from the media reports.”

Phase three of the plan kicks in when dams can no longer supply water and distribution will be limited.

At the same time, academics are also weighing in on the city's water crisis plan, saying officials might be missing a trick.

Professor of environment management Anthony Turton says this has major knock-on effects.

“Pressure reduction is all good and light until your building catches alight and you need water to kill the fire. It has got substantial knock-on effects, particularly for the insurance industry and people that own asserts that might go up in flames.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)