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Published on Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tourists warned Cape Town 'very likely' to run out of water

Cape Town's mayor has warned visitors to the city that it is 'very likely' to run out of water in April.

Some reports suggest the popular South African city will run dry even earlier as residents and tourists ignore attempts to reduce usage.

Reservoirs supplying Cape Town are running dangerously low after two years of drought, during which rainfall has been only about a third of normal levels.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said Day Zero, which is the date the city will run dry, was originally set at April 21 but this has since been moved forward to April 12.

"Day Zero is the day that almost all of the taps in the city will be turned off and we will have to queue for water," said the city council.

Water pressure has been reduced to limit consumption, but water leaks and cuts in the supply are becoming more common.

Alistair Coy, a British visitor to Cape Town, tweeted footage of one of the reservoirs supplying the city. He called the crisis an "impending disaster in one of the world's greatest cities", and predicted Day Zero will arrive in March.

"Four million citizens will be expected to collect 25 litres per person from one of 200 collection points," he said. "A true nightmare scenario is developing before our very eyes."

Jamie Bowden, a long-stay UK visitor to the city, told The Independent: "The water crisis is the only topic of conversation. Arriving passengers at Cape Town airport are met with a huge banner on the drive out of the airport imploring visitors to shower for just two minutes."

Hotels, bars and restaurants remain open but some have turned off the water supply in public lavatories and are providing hand sanitizer instead.

A statement from South African Tourism said: "To counter the short-term effects of the drought, the city has put in place a number of initiatives to increase the supply of water and make provision for water shortages for locals and visitors.

"There will be water for tourists' essential daily needs including access to drinking water and for personal hygiene. At present, tourists will be able to shower and maintain daily hygiene. Some swimming pools at hotels have been converted to salt (ocean) water."

South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona added: "We are pleased that we have not received any reports of any tourism attractions and services interrupted by the water shortage and we appeal to tourists, and tourism businesses to continue being good responsible tourism citizens and continue being water-wise, even as the peak holiday season in South Africa winds down."

The city council will vote tomorrow on measures to apply a punitive tariff which will raise water bills five-fold for those who use the least and the heaviest users will pay 140 times as much for each litre of water.

Four new desalination plants are under construction in and around Cape Town, but three are running behind schedule and none is likely to be ready by April. Desalination ships are also being prepared.

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  • To bad your gov't can't stop dissing Israel -- the one local power who could help

    Voters in South Africa need to wake up and dump its self-serving leaders. To make things worse, two days ago one of them felt it necessary to smear Israel as "the sole remaining apartheid country in the world". What a sad and ill-founded insult aimed at a nation who could do so much to help a South Africa intent on helping itself -- instead of wallowing about as a perpetual basket case. BTW, Cape Town is amazing -- hope it rains sometime soon.

    By rethman mike, Thursday, January 25, 2018

  • Cape Town is open for business

    .....and welcomes caring visitors. If you're willing to save like a local you'll still have a great time in one of the worlds most favourite cities. Contingencies are in place and many save like mad to avoid Day Zero from happening. Too many jobs depend on tourism and to start a panic and tell potential visitors to cancel their trips is clearly the wrong message. We look forward to welcoming you!

    By Nils Heckscher, Thursday, January 25, 2018

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