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'Pray For Rain': Govt urges South Africans amid looming water shortage

'Pray For Rain': Govt urges South Africans amid looming water shortage

South Africa

South Africa’s department of water and sanitation is rallying citizens to pray for rain amid a biting drought and potential drying up of taps in the city of Cape Town.

A banner on the department’s website read ‘PRAY FOR RAIN: Team South Africa is called upon to pray or meditate for much needed rain during the weekend of 9 – 11 February, 2018.’

The city of Cape Town is counting down to ‘Day Zero,’ a day when taps are expected to dry because of falling dam levels coupled with a drought. Residents will be expected to queue for water from government operated outlets.

The sector minister, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, has stressed that avoiding the acute water shortage will hinge on responsible use of available water by members of the public.

Authorities in Cape Town recently pushed back its estimate for “Day Zero,” to May 11 from April 16, citing a decline in agricultural water usage.

“Capetonians must continue reducing consumption if we are to avoid Day Zero. All Capetonians must therefore continue to use no more than 50 litres per person per day to help stretch our dwindling supplies,” Cape Town’s executive deputy major, Alderman Ian Neilson said.

Levels of usable water in the dams surrounding Cape Town have been dropping by 1.4 per cent a day, and currently stand at around 17.2 per cent.

When they hit 13.5 per cent – estimated for April 12 – the pipeline will be shut down and the city’s four million residents will have to queue up each day for their supply from one of 200 water collection points.

The water crisis poses a risk to a vibrant tourist industry that sees almost 2 million visitors flock to Cape Town every year. The Cape Town region generally receives most of its rainfall from May to August.

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