The current water crisis and drought in Cape Town is the worst the city has seen in a century.

This was revealed yesterday by City of Cape Town official, Gisela Kaiser, who addressed delegates at the African Utility Week conference at the Cape Town Convention Centre.

According to Kaiser,  there was no way they could reasonably have anticipated the severity of this drought. The city dam’s current water levels stand at 21.2% and the city is considering bumping water restrictions up to level four, meaning residents will only be allowed to use water for cooking, drinking and bathing.

Kaiser added that the city is essentially “waiting on a miracle” and that nothing can be taken for granted anymore.

“Water losses have been reduced from about 25% in 2009 to below 15% as of yesterday,” she daid. This has been attributed to various interventions among which are the rate of pipe bursts that the city managed to reduce. “It is less than half from 64 bursts p/ 100 km back in 2010 to 31 bursts per 100/km  – saving millions of litres of water.”

“We know that modelling the past to predict the future is not foolproof, but there is no way we could reasonably have anticipated the severity of the drought at the time. Whenever water strategy is created it is informed by historical water patterns,” she added.

Desalination plants are being hailed as a possible alternative, but the city said there is no way it could be built to scale quickly enough to compensate for such a drought.