S. Africa's Cape Town announces relaxation of water restrictions

CAPE TOWN, Sept. 10 (Xihua) -- The City of Cape Town on Monday announced the relaxation of restrictions on water use staring on Oct. 1.

"The relaxation of restrictions is a moderate proposal that is based on a hydrological risk assessment that indicates that it is safe to do so at the level of risk that is agreed upon," the city said.

The decision came after Cape Town's dam levels were nearing 70 percent of storage capacity due to rainfall at the beginning of winter and conservation efforts of Capetonians, Executive Deputy Mayor Alderman Neilson said.

Water restrictions and the associated tariffs will be lowered in the interim from Level 6B to Level 5 from Oct. 1, he said.

Water conservation efforts will remain in place, but the daily water usage target will be increased from 50 liters to 70 liters per person and the daily collective consumption target will increase by 50 million liters to 500 million liters, Neilson said.

The Western Cape Water Supply System's dams are now at 68 percent capacity, a significant improvement on the situation at the end of the previous winter, when they were at 38 percent capacity, according to the city.

In February this year, the city imposed Level 6B water restrictions, the most stringent in history, due to a persistent drought.

"Much work is planned over the next few years to augment the city's water supply," Neilson said. "Our water conservation awareness and demand management will continue as always."

Cape Town was on the brink of becoming the world's first metropolis to run out of water last year, when Capetonians braced for the so-called Day Zero, which refers to a time when dams supplying water to the city run dry, water taps are switched off and residents have to collect water at designated points.

[ Editor: WPY ]
 

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