The idea is to avoid a possible Day Zero BUT this will require the concerted effort of government, businesses and residents working together to reduce water consumption. 

For the City of Cape Town, possible Day Zero refers to the day when most of the water supply system is switched off. Residents will need to collect 25 litres of water per person per day from points of distribution (PODs) located across the City. Certain business areas may be protected from the switch offs.

A possible Day Zero will be determined differently within each municipality and when the day is reached slightly different processes will be instituted. 

As is clear below, Day Zero is not a static date - it is dependent on numerous factors, such as:

  • Rainfall;
  • Temperatures and wind speed which influence evaporation rates;
  • New supply volumes and timing on when they come online;
  • Consumption of the available water.
Calculating Day Zero

The City of Cape Town has developed a dashboard to inform residents of when that day is calculated to be, and how far the City is in securing various alternative water supply sources. 

Developing a Business Continuity Plan

The Western Cape Government is developing its Water Business Continuity Plan to ensure the delivery of essential WCG services can continue even if the supply of municipal water becomes severely constrained.

Below are some points to consider when developing a business continuity plan for your organisation:

  • Work out your needs – actual minimum vs historic use
  • Reduce water consumption to as low as possible while maintaining production.
  • What are you doing to store or capture more water? e.g. rainwater tanks, capturing stormwater into pools etc. 
  • What else are you doing to provide own water supplies? e.g. boreholes, desalination, water from air
  • Are you treating the stored or other water supplies in any way? Unless you treat the water to a potable standard, you can only use it for non-potable water functions.
  • What is your plan for emergency potable water supplies – i.e. for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene?
  • What is your plan for sanitation? If your system has no water or low water pressure, the normal toilet facilities will be compromised.
  • What is your plan for water in case a fire breaks out?
  • Have you engaged with your insurance company with regards to cover should a fire occur?
  • How many people can you supply for should the water mains be switched off in terms of (direct and sanitation use?
  • If the system cannot supply enough for all employees, have you mapped out which functions are critical and which functions can be performed at home?
  • Have you engaged with your suppliers to check that they have done their own business continuity planning?

To provide businesses with guidance on creating their own water operational plan (supports improved water use practices under water rationing circumstances) and a business continuity plan, A Basic Business Continuity Planning Guide has been developed. 

Additional BCP Templates can be found at the following two websites: and

For support on continuity planning please email