“We are delighted to welcome the death of the whole Day Zero concept,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
She was commenting on the announcement by the City that the dams which supply Cape Town’s water are now and more than 43% full and that there will be no Day Zero next year.
“We have all learned hard lessons and taken costly measures to store and save water. These measures remain in place and amount to an investment that will ensure water security for the future.” Ms Myburgh said.
In addition to 43% full dams, there were now also millions of litres of water stored in new rainwater tanks and the boreholes had been recharged. Even more important was that real progress was being made in the reuse of water and ending water wasting.
The Day Zero story had been a panicky reaction to what was clearly a long-term problem and it had damaged our tourist industry. “We must now tell the world that Cape Town is back in business and banish all suggestions that Day Zero was even a possibility.”
Ms Myburgh said “we must also recognise that the greatest sacrifice has been made by the agricultural sector and we owe the farmers a huge debt of gratitude.”
“It is fairly easy for city dwellers to save water but the farmers have huge investments in orchards and vineyards. If an orchard dies, the farmer will have the expense of replacing it and it will be years before he can harvest good crops again.”
Cape Town should now think about repaying the farmers by becoming less dependent on dam water so that they can have a more secure supply of irrigation water. “We must remember that the agriculture sector creates jobs and their exports bring new money into the country.”
“This means we must continue to use water wisely, press on with the reuse of water, the capturing and storing of roof water and the desalination of sea water to make Cape Town a drought-proof city,” Ms Myburgh said.