Cape Town's 'Day Zero' delayed as drought declared 'national disaster'

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Cape Town's looming Day Zero has been pushed back to June 4, as Cape Town reduced its water use over the past week to an average of 529-million litres a day - the lowest daily consumption achieved to date.

Meanwhile, national government has declared the drought affecting the southern and western areas of South Africa a national disaster.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said after re-evaluating the magnitude and severity of the drought that it had reclassified it as a "national disaster".

Rains at the weekend raised hopes that the situation would improve, but the downpours were neither heavy nor long enough to have an effect on the situation.

The statement, published in the government gazette, means that the national government is now responsible for tackling the issue and ensuring relief efforts. A five-minute shower uses around 45 litres.

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It will probably arrive in May, a month or two before the onset of the winter rains.

"Day Zero" was previously scheduled to be in April, then May, but has now been moved to June 4, 2018.

Speaking to Al Rai Al A'am TV program, the minister said the drought crisis in South Africa did not emerge all of a sudden for there had been several repeated warning signs for many years.

Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane praised residents of Cape Town, a tourist magnet, for significantly slashing their water consumption.

Earlier this year the government called on citizens to limit their water usage to 50 litres per day.

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