Cape Town: Tensions are mounting at a natural spring in Cape Town that is popular with residents forced to contend with water restrictions due to severe drought, the city council said Wednesday.
A fight broke out and one person was arrested by police earlier in the week in long queues at the Newland spring, and local residents have complained of traffic gridlock.
Capetonians will be expected to abide by a 50 litre-a-day personal consumption limit from Thursday in an effort to avert the so-called “Day Zero” scenario which would see taps shut off.
“Day Zero” is currently forecast for April 16. Householders and traders would be forced to queue at 200 water collection points to collect a daily allocation of 25 litres per person — less than a two-minute shower.
Current dam levels fell last week to 26.3 per cent, with the last 10 per cent difficult to use, according to the Cape Town government. But only about 55 per cent of residents stuck to last week’s limit of 87 litres a day.
A typical shower uses 15 litres per minute while a standard toilet consumes 15 litres per flush, according to WaterWise, a South African water awareness campaign. Private security guards monitor people with plastic containers at another natural spring location at a South African Breweries facility in Newland.
A parliamentary committee said it will ask the government to “rein in unscrupulous traders” who have raised the price of bottled water to take advantage of the crisis. Poor people will suffer the most from price gouging, the trade and industry committee said.
Shortages have hit Cape Town’s hospitality industry, whose leaders are urging hotels to consider switching to salt water instead of fresh water.