“Our intent is to both drive down collective usage to 500Ml per day and to ensure that there is always at 500Ml/day of water in production,” Mayor Patricia de Lille told reporters on Thursday. She said the city had decided to take the most pessimistic view of the drought, and hoped to have the first desalination plant on line by the end of October. The city had reduced water consumption from around 1000Ml a day in the past year to the latest figure of 610Ml a day. This was still too much, given the poor prospects of dams filling up anytime soon.
As of August 14, the average level of dams supplying the city was 31.1%, up 1.7 percentage points from the previous weeks. However, 10% of the dams’ water was unusable, leaving average levels at only 21%. There are currently severe water use restrictions in place, prohibiting the use of drinking water for anything other than cooking, drinking, and two-minute showers. De Lille said the city had accepted it was no longer feasible to just wait for the rain.