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Maimane: Day zero may not happen in 2018

Mmusi Maimane is addressing the media about the current water status in the City of Cape Town and progress made towards defeating Day Zero.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane addresses the media at a #DefeatDayZero briefing in Cape Town. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – After months of dire warnings and panic buying of buckets and greywater systems, the City of Cape Town authorities now say Day Zero probably won’t even happen in 2018.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane announced on Wednesday afternoon that there will be no need to turn off the taps if current trends of water consumption within the metro prevail.

But the DA leader says all this depends on a normal rainfall season this year.

It’s been months of anxiety for residents and repeated warnings from the City that day zero is looming, that’s the day when the water runs out, and residents are forced to queue for water.

Now it seems that might not happen at all.

But deputy mayor Ian Neilson says authorities were not deliberately trying to panic people and that the critical nature of the crisis prompted officials, at the time, to implement drastic measures to pull back water consumption.

“The dam levels were very low… and that’s just a factual situation.”

Maimane emphasises that keeping Day Zero at bay will largely depend on residents’ water use.

“Whilst we celebrate, this is not a time to remain complacent.”

The metro's current dam levels are at 23.6%.

Punitive water tariffs and level 6B water restrictions remain in place.

WATCH: Mmusi Maimane: Day Zero might not happen in 2018

Maimane says he was not satisfied with the way the city had responded to the drought crisis.

”Many residents blamed the DA, and as Cape Town is a DA government, it was important that I intervened to ensure that residents received the level of service and honest government that they expect from the DA.”

He adds when this decision was taken the dam levels were sitting at 27.2%, with only 17.2% of usable water left.

"We made one thing clear: to fight this water crisis and defeat Day Zero. Residents responded magnificently, rolled up their sleeves, and got stuck in.

"I am therefore happy to announce that provided we continue consuming water at current levels, and we receive decent winter rainfall this year, Day Zero will not occur in 2018. This means the taps will stay open in 2018!," said Maimane.

Consumption now sits at between 510 and 520 million litres per day – down from almost 1.2 billion litres in February 2015. This 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement and outperforms many other cities across the world which faced severe droughts – including Sao Paulo, Melbourne, and the State of California.

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