“The first major city to run out of water !”
“Anarchy will rule when the water runs out !”
“Local government powerless to avoid DAY ZERO !”
These are only a few of the local & international news headlines in reference to Cape Town’s current water shortage. As with most sensational headlines, it has exceeded in attracting attention from all sides, both positive & negative. So before you rush off to cancel your already confirmed trip to Cape Town, here are the facts:
1) This is the worst drought in recorded Cape Town history
The main reason for the water shortage is, quite simply, a lack of rain in the water catchment area, which is mainly due to a consequence of climate change.
2) The population has increased by 79%
Population has grown from 2.4 million residents in 1995 to 4.3 million in 2018, representing a 79 percent population increase in 23 years, whilst dam water storage only increased by 15 percent.
3) Lack of urgency by Local Government in bringing desalination plants on-line
The City of Cape Town local government has been criticised by water desalination companies for the slow pace of contract negotiations, high level of bureaucracy, lack of urgency, and the inadequate scale of proposed water supply projects.
So what is being done to prevent us from reaching DAY ZERO?
1) The agricultural sector has reduced water consumption by 50 %
2) Level 6 restrictions have been imposed limiting consumption to 50 litres per person per day
3) Local government has approved circumvention of normal procurement procedures for the production of desalination plants.
At the time of writing this article, DAY ZERO, which has been defined as the day the taps run dry, has been postponed to November 2018.
In conclusion, the water crisis has in fact been a wake up call to the inhabitants of Cape Town, by making them more aware of their water habits & for placing am emphasis on preserving this scare natural resource. As Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”