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Parched Cape Town imposes water restrictions due to drought

28 May 2017

The City of Cape Town has allocated R22 million to employ additional staff for their first-line response teams who are deployed to attend to water faults reported to their call centre.

In this photo taken Sunday, April 16, 2017, the Theewaterskloof Dam, a key source of water supply to Cape Town, South Africa, is shown at low levels.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says the goal of declaring a disaster zone is not to frighten residents, but to allow the province to shortcut the process of reprioritising the budget.

A statement released Monday by Premier Helen Zille's office said: "The most immediate interventions, in the coming days will include drilling of boreholes at hospitals and in schools in high-risk water scarce areas".

The crisis mirrors a countrywide crisis previous year when townships ran dry and residents of major cities staged collections of bottled water, which was donated and trucked across South Africa.

Government officials have warned residents not to flush toilets unless absolutely necessary, to use bathwater and dishwater to flush toilets, limit showers to two minutes or to give themselves sponge baths instead.

The city of almost four million people is in its low tourist season.

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Some hotels provide place updates on the dam levels in guest rooms to encourage water economy.

Provincially, the collective dam levels dropped to just under 20% this week, meaning the region has to make due with about 9% as the last 10% of water can not be extracted from dams.

They have implemented a 10 percent water contingency plan. The worse offender used 33 times more than the average household.

Cape Town in one of South Africa's main tourist destinations, but the peak of the tourist season comes later in the year.

This avoids a disaster during the dry months.

The provincial government urged residents to continue with the current water saving measures and to adhere to the restrictions imposed in their respective municipalities.

Parched Cape Town imposes water restrictions due to drought