Forget Day Zero - Its 2019 We Need To Worry About

13 February 2018 | SA Views | Dwaine van Vuuren

The City of Cape Town today moved "Day Zero" back from 11 May 2018 to 4 June 2018. This is primarily as a result of City usage dropping to 493 million litres per day and agricultural use all but coming to a halt (down to only 10% of all usage).


The City continues to use linear extrapolation to determine day zero targets but as this recent move demonstrates, this will be subject to more moves back in the Day Zero date as the effects of agriculture cutbacks and seasonal trends (usage is not in straight lines) come into play.

In our last article we opined that Day Zero most likely won’t happen. With the latest figures showing consumption down to 493 million litres per day and the taps all but turned off for agriculture now, we feel that Day Zero in 2018 has almost certainly been avoided. But that’s the least of our worries. If we assume at the very least identical rainfall in 2018 to that achieved in 2017 (in other words the drought does not worsen) and we assume the taps remain turned off for agriculture in the run-up to the next growing season, then the real reason for the 450 million liters (50l per person per day) per day target becomes apparent.  We need to end up on 21 October 2018 with at least what we started with on 21 Oct 2017 - namely dam levels at 38%, or else we face a certain unavoidable Day Zero scenario or complete shutdown of the agricultural sector in 2019.

The chart below shows current usage up till 11 Feb 2018, including agriculture, together with the projected forecast of dam levels assuming similar seasonal usage, evaporation and rainfall to 2017, a 450 million liter per day City usage achievement and 80% savings on agricultural use going forward. No augmentation projects (desalination etc.) has been factored in yet. The 13.5% line at the bottom is the Day Zero level when taps are switched off.


Why is it so crucial that we try finish up at the end of October 2018 where we started in October 2017? Have a look at the last few years dam levels below and the answer becomes obvious - our situation is worsening year after year. With weather forecasting being so unpredictable now, we have to assume at the very least that rainfall in 2018 will be the same as 2017. If it’s better, then well and good but if it’s worse, and the below pattern continues - we are in real big trouble.


As we predicted in our last article, agriculture was going to save the day and enable us to avoid Day Zero, as effectively they have reached their Day Zero already with the taps having been turned off by National Government as they have met their annual usage target already:


The big assumptions in getting to 38% capacity by November are at least an 80% savings by agriculture for the remainder of the year, us achieving the 450 million litres per day targets and rainfall at least as good as last year.

The 450 million liters per day targets are not that far off - the blue line below showing daily average usage versus the purple target show that we just need to save an additional 50 million liters per day, or an additional 10% savings:


To view if your house, street or neighbours are meeting the water restriction levels, go to this water useage map

Dwaine van Vuuren
Retail-side Research
RecessionAlert, Sharenet Analytics

Dwaine van Vuuren is a full-time trader, global investor and stock-market researcher. His passion for numbers and keen research & analytic ability has helped grow (US based) and PowerStocks Research (now Sharenet Analytics) into companies used by hundreds of hedge funds, brokerage firms, financial advisers and private investors around the world. An enthusiastic educator, he will have you trading and investing with confidence & discipline.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and must not be regarded as a prospectus for any security, financial product or transaction. It is neither to be construed as financial advice nor to be regarded as a definitive analysis of any financial issue. Investors should consider this research/article as only a single factor in making their investment decision. We recommend you consult a financial planner/advisor to take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs. The views and opinions (where expressed) in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sharenet.