Drought forces some Cape Town residents into midnight queues for water

The lines are a foretaste of what looks set to become a much bigger problem for the city unless rain falls.
On Monday, city officials pushed back “Day Zero” – the day taps could run dry – by a month to May 11 from April 16, as farmers in the water intensive agriculture sector cut back consumption amid tight restrictions.
Last week, dam levels in Western Cape province fell to 24.5 percent from 25.3 percent the previous week and from nearly 38 percent a year ago.
“I think there is going to be chaos,” said Saleigh van der Schyff, as he inched forward in a long queue where people lined up to collect water from a natural spring in the Newlands suburb.
“I hope Day Zero never comes, but I can see with people wanting to come here and the desperation for water, we are soon going to realize that water is more valuable than oil,” he said at 11 pm local time on Monday as a steady stream of people continued to arrive at the spring to fill their containers.
Cape Town city authorities have previously tested out a water collection site at a soccer field, saying it plans to roll out an estimated 200 such water points across the city.
Authorities say each person will be allocated 25 litres of water per day, and have been urging residents of the city to “save water or queue for water” in the run-up to Day Zero.
“I am extremely worried because of all the negative things that could happen,” said Sharon O‘Connor, a 63-year-old financial assistant as she waited her turn.
Close to the brewery spring at Newlands, city officials stepped in after an altercation to access another spring in the area turned violent.
Worried about diseases spreading, the city has warned residents about drinking water from unsafe sources across the city.

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