The coastal city of Cape Town, located in the Western Cape of South Africa, has issued new water restrictions as the city is on the verge of running out of water.
Cape Town officials anticipate the city’s water supply will possibly cut off due to drought on April 12 — otherwise known as “Day Zero.”
Residents of the South African city have been partaking in massive water conservation efforts to combat the area’s drought, but, according to Mayor Patricia de Lille, some people are “callously” using more than their current limit.
“We have reached a point of no return. Despite our urging for months, 60 percent of Capetonians are callously using more than 87 liters per day,” de Lille said last week.
Residents must use no more than 50 liters of water daily beginning Feb. 1, and the city plans to fine households that use too much water.
"We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them," the mayor said.
The original “Day Zero” was scheduled for April 21, but “due to a drop in the dam levels of 1.4%, Day Zero has, as of today, moved forward to 12 April 2018,” Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said Tuesday, according to News24.
"Our main focus at this point must be on what we can do now to prevent our taps running dry by April,” Neilson said, noting that desalination and aquifer projects in Cape Town wouldn’t be able to provide enough water to prevent “Day Zero.”
“The people who are still wasting water seem to believe that Day Zero just can't happen or that the city’s seven augmentation projects — set to produce around 200 million liters per day — will be enough to save us,” de Lille said. “This is not the case and, while our water augmentation program will make Cape Town more water resilient in the future, it was never going to be enough to stop Day Zero.”
Cape Town, a major tourist destination and a city of 3.7 million people, has assessed 200 water collection points for residents as it prepares for the possible cutoff date.
Experts link the city's water shortages to factors including climate change and high population growth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.