Africa

Cape Town calls off drought 'Day Zero'

Residents of Cape Town collect drinking water from a mountain spring collection point in Cape Town, South Africa, 19 January 2018 Source: AAP

The second largest city in South Africa will not run out of water this year after Cape Town deputy mayor said 'day zero' can be 'completely avoided' in 2018.

South Africa's drought-stricken tourist metropolis Cape Town will not run out of water this year as previously feared, the city says.

The all-clear was given after new projections showed that, without rainfall, "Day Zero" - the day the city runs out of water - would be on August 27.

"As this date falls deep within the normal rainfall period, it is no longer appropriate to project the date without any consideration of rainfall ... Day Zero can be avoided completely this year," deputy mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement.

Cape Town, located in the southern hemisphere, is currently in mid-summer, with the rainy season expected to start in May.

The city is suffering its worst drought in recorded history, with the dams supplying the city with water about 23 per cent full, according to the city.

"Day Zero" had recently been predicted for July 9, although earlier this year, the city said it may have to stop water supply as early as mid-March.

Residents however continue to be limited to using 50 litres of water per person per day, with punitive tariffs for those consuming more than allowed, said Neilson.

"If winter rainfall this year is as low as last year, or even lower, we are still in danger of reaching Day Zero early next year," he added.

While reducing household consumption, the city is also implementing emergency and long-term plans to make additional water available through desalination, groundwater abstraction and water reuse.

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