Water is top of mind for Capetonians and John Maytham chats to Premier Helen Zille about what's in store for the province.
If Cape Town's water supply augmentation reaches its projections...together with considerable water savings, should see us through.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
Maytham raises the point that everytime the City has been questioned about the water augmentation programme, the deadline is extended. The latest dates given are between December and May.
Whose responsibility is it mass water infrastructure?
According to the Constitution and the law and all past precedent, it is national government.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
She says national government is responsible for the dams, the major infrastructure and for the augmentation schemes such as for example, desalination plants which they have paid for before in places like Mossel Bay.
She disagrees with the argument that nothing has been done and remembers very well steps taken in 2004.
When there were warnings in 2004 that all our water management areas would be under stress by 2025, people acted immediately. And while I was still the mayor the Berg River Dam was built.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
The building of that dam should have been the sole responsibility of national government, she says.
But national said to us quite clearly we can't keep on building dams forever, you've got to get more careful with your water conservation.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
So that is what they did she says. In fact, the province had to pay for part of the dam to provide more incentive for conserving water.
As for water loss through leaks, she says Cape Town fares better than many other cities in SA and the world and in fact, has much lower leakage than London.
It's a world-class standard.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
She says the province has overseen R680 million expenditure on water infrastructure.
An enormous amount has been done.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
The massive problem only came in 2015 when we had one of the lowest rainfalls on record, she says.
Obviously, none of us wants Day Zero and we have to work very hard to prevent it. And I think we will prevent it.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
She says if the local government's projections on new sources of supply come on stream and people save, then things will look a lot better.
This crisis will mean we become prepared for a water-wise future, she insists.
We will come out of this with a strong water economy because all kinds of entrepreneurs are coming out in the water space. And we will come out of this with a water consciousness..and a better infrastructure.— Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Zille on why we will avoid Day Zero