Fiel photo taken on May 28, 2017 shows minimal water left in Theewaterskloof dam located on the Sonderend River near Villiersdorp, Western Cape, South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City is facing a water crisis that hasn't been seen in a century. (Xinhua/Andre Louw)
CAPE TOWN, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Urgency is required in assisting drought-hit Cape Town to avert "Day Zero," a South African minister said Thursday.
The water crisis in Cape Town and the Western Cape Province "requires a massive public involvement process where citizens adhere to and assist in identifying those who still continue to use water irresponsibly," Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane said.
Mokonyane was speaking as Day Zero is drawing near, threatening to make Cape Town the first metropolis in the world to run out of water.
Day Zero refers to the time when dams supplying water to Cape Town run dry, water taps are switched off and residents have to collect water at designated points. The city has declared April 12 as Day Zero, nine days earlier than previously announced.
Cape Town and Western Cape continue to see falling reservoir capacities. The combined capacity of the 43 dams in the province decreased by 1.37 percent in the last week to 25.21 percent, according to Mokonyane.
Cape Town, now on Level 6B water restrictions, is still not achieving its target of 500 megaliters per day. Instead, it is exceeding the target by approximately 86 megaliters per day, the minister said.
Mokonyane also refuted criticism that the central government has failed to help address the water crisis in Cape Town, administered by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
The minister said critics like Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and DA leader Mmusi Maimane were trying to absolve themselves of their responsibilities in the management of the water crisis.
"No amount of politicking and scapegoats will do away with the imminent water blackout we face in the Western Cape if we fail to act responsibly," Mokonyane said.
Mokonyane said she will hold several follow-up meetings over the next few days with stakeholders to assess the current and new interventions necessary to avert Day Zero.