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Students and lecturers alike will now need to use 50% less water every day‚ across all campuses at the University of Cape Town. Failure could risk heavy penalties being imposed on the institution. A letter from the vice-chancellor’s desk on Monday states that UCT’s intention is to achieve this reduction in water use “not only during the current crisis but far into the future”. Day Zero – the day that taps and valves will be turned off across large areas of the city – is currently forecast for July 9.

UCT felt “this precious resource will remain in limited supply even if we avoid Day Zero completely this year”.

Citing its reasons for the drastic new target on its campuses‚ UCT said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“The first‚ obviously‚ is to avoid Day Zero altogether. The second is that should Day Zero arrive‚ our daily consumption will have been reduced to levels that we can obtain from a combination of municipal and non-municipal sources‚ such as boreholes and supplies from water tankers.”

“The third is that the City of Cape Town has prescribed that UCT must reduce water usage by 45% to avoid facing severe financial penalties. These fines would be extremely costly and would threaten the institution financially. Setting a slightly higher savings target of 50% will help keep UCT on a solid financial footing as well as set an example for the responsible use of resources.”

A water task team has already begun work and various opinions are being solicited on ways to achieve this targeted reduction in water use. A record of nearly all water use across UCT campuses from 2015 to 2017 has been completed‚ and the university to close to being able to capture seepage water for irrigation‚ amongst other measures.

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