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Premier Helen Zille on Thursday officially declared the Western Cape a disaster area.

The province is said to be experiencing the worst drought since 1904.

"This means I can re-prioritise provincial budget," says Zille.

Read: Cape's water shortages very worrying

It is very difficult to declare a disaster. I cant just wake up one morning and decide to declare a disaster, there are objective criteria that have to be met.

Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape

Zille says the province has support of the Disaster Management centre to speed up processes for funding interventions.

She urges residents to also play their part asking them to use the required 100 litres per day as stipulated in the level 4 water restriction.

Read also: How Beaufort-West survived its worst drought in history

We need to have permanent behaviour change and permanent new sources of supply.

Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape

Zille says they are working on a plan to safeguard the key points areas such as schools and hospitals by drilling bore holes. This will be coordinated in a way that the underground water resources don't get depleted.

An environmental impact assessment will be done before tapping into the mountain aquifers

The declaration of the disaster enables me to take away the bureaucratic processes and not the scientific processes. It will make sure that when we drill into aquifers it is safe and protects the water from pollution but it wont take years and years of red tape.

Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape

To hear more from Premier Zille, please listen below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Zille calls for permanent behaviour change to saving water



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