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Drought reclassified as national disaster

Last week, CoGTA indicated it was preparing for a formal declaration in March, that would allow national structures to coordinate emergency funding.

FILE: Farms in the Western Cape are suffering under the current drought.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG – The National Disaster Management Centre has confirmed it has reclassified the drought as a national disaster.

However, this does not mean a disaster has been officially declared.

Last week, the Department of Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) indicated it was preparing for a formal declaration in March, that would allow national structures to coordinate emergency funding, that’s been released to the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

Those provinces have been the worst affected by the drought.

CoGTA’s spokesperson Legadima Leso said: “That’s not a declaration. The process must then still be followed by the official declaration of the national disaster. This is just a precursor before the actual declaration of the national disaster.”

Factfile on water storage levels in the major dams supplying Cape Town, which faces a water crisis due to drought.

LISTEN: Here are 10 good things about the drought

DAY ZERO

Meanwhile, there’s some good news for water-scarce Cape Town as day zero has been pushed back to 4 June.

It was forecast for 11 May.

The City of Cape Town says the continued decline in agricultural usage and the efforts of residents in reducing consumption has led to the reprieve.

However, dam levels remain at just 24.9% compared to 36.1% in 2017.

Deputy Mayor Ian Nielson said: “Day zero, the day that we may have to queue for water, has been pushed back to 4 June due to Capetonians reducing their water usage and the City of Cape Town’s efforts to bring down consumption. This is very encouraging, but we cannot afford to relax our efforts.”

LISTEN: CT must dispense with day zero until after winter rains - expert

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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