Update June 29, 2018
There is very good news .. There has been enough rain in Cape Town. Since May, the start of the rainy season, it has been raining more than previous years. The dams in which the water for the city is stored are currently 40% full, much more than in previous years. And the rainy season will probably continue for a while! With this, a Day Zero currently seems averted. Until the dams are 80% full, water restrictions will apply. Much has been learned from the possible reality that Cape Town would run out of water, and a lot of work was done to keep it from happening. The weather gods are favorable this year and so there is a big relieve for now. And the great thing about Cape Town is that we also see the sun every (rainy) day. So no endless gray days. Let the rain come!
Update March 27, 2018
Day Zero has been postponed several times since the post of January 31 below. The most extreme date that was discussed was April 2018. Fortunately, many measures have been taken from that point on and that has paid off, as a result of which Day Zero has gradually been postponed further and further. At the moment, the expectation is that Day Zero will not be reached at all this year! This positive news is mainly due to the reduced use of water by the inhabitants and visitors of Cape Town. The campaigns that were set up were intensive: on radio, television, in the city and along the highway, you could not escape the fact that Day Zero would come if you did not reduce your water consumption. In addition, the farmers also used less water than originally expected and water was “donated” from private dams that still had enough water. Really good news! However, it is essential that the water consumption remains low because the dams are still practically empty at the moment. Only when it will rain excessively a Day Zero ca be definitively averted. Whether that is very likely is the question: it has been extremely dry for 3 years in a row. The “rainy season” (or the season in which it should be raining) is now starting, so let’s hope that there will fall enough!
Item 31 January 2018
We get a lot of questions about water issues in Cape Town.
It is undeniable that Cape Town has a shortage of water. This is indeed a major problem for the population of the city. It seems that if nothing happens, in the not too distant future there will be no water coming out of the taps at home. Residents and tourists do their best to save water, which is why day-zero has been pushed back further and further in recent times. Now you are wondering how it could have come to this point and what the consequences are.
The geographical side
The city is dependent on water from a number of dams, which are normally filled with rainwater during the rainy season, which is used for the rest of the year. However, it has been drier than usual for years in a row and therefore the rainfall is considerably less. As a result, the dams are not sufficiently filled with water.
Water consumption in the city remains high and the water is running out. Campaigns to reduce water consumption appear to lower the consumption slightly, although many people do not seem to see the urgency of the problem yet. Level 6b will apply from 1 February 2018. This means that per person per day instead of the previous 87 liters per day, you can only use 50 liters per day. If you consider that flushing your toilet once takes around 9 liters of water, you will immediately see how little 50 liters of water is (or how much we normally consume just how you want to see it).
In daily life this means that you have to shower as quick as possible, you collect the water that is lost when you let your shower heat up (this allows you to flush your toilet) and you only flush the toilet if you really have to. In addition, it is therefore important to have sufficient drinking water in bottles from the supermarket (especially for the day that the taps might actually close). Washing cars, cleaning streets and filling swimming pools has long been out of the question.
The municipality is taking various measures to address alternative sources of water. For example, they are drilling for water and tests are being conducted to make seawater suitable for daily use. In addition, measures are being taken to reduce water consumption. As mentioned earlier, restriction levels are set and fines are also imposed. In addition, as part of the so-called critical water shortage disaster plan, certain areas are cut off from water at certain times; so-called water rationing. This happens in the morning or in the evening, at the moments that the water consumption is highest. Areas that use the most water are more frequently closed off. We have now experienced this ourselves once. Even though it is very annoying as a resident, it is effective to reduce consumption.
Effects on tourism
Cape Town is a popular destination for tourists and tourism is a major source of income for the city. This therefore causes some disagreement about the amount of tourists in a city where there is almost no water is useful. A lot of work is being done at hotels and restaurants to use alternative sources of water, for example through their own type of purification system or their own drilling, etc. And the municipality is also working on providing water for tourists. Tourists are also told that they must be careful with the water. When you arrive at the airport you immediately see the campaign and hotels inform their guests about how you can shower as economically as possible, for example. It may sound strange that so much is being done to arrange it for tourists where local people might be without water, but the income that tourists bring in for the city is extremely important and many families depend on it. In addition, there is of course also money needed to be able to do ground drilling at all .. In short: come to Cape Town, have fun but use as little water as possible! Showering can also wait until you are somewhere else in the country ;).
What if Day Zero happens
When Day Zero, the day the taps close, arrives, it is difficult to estimate what will happen. There are around 200 points in the city where you have to get water (25 liters). These points will be secured by the army. More than 3.5 million people live in Cape Town. Whether all parts of the city will be closed off and how many people should use the water points is not yet entirely clear. But if you look at the situation in advance, it is a scary thought how this will develop. ent 3; \ls
Update June 29, 2018