Cape Town

Written By: - Date published: 4:39 pm, January 20th, 2018 - 8 comments
Categories: Africa, Environment, global warming, International, science, sustainability, water - Tags: , ,

Following on from Dave Kennedy’s excellent post from the other day, apparently Cape Town is in the throes of its worst drought in over 100 years (link). The Globe and Mail mentions uncited calculations placing the drought as a one in a thousand year event.

Be that as it may, the city Mayor is warning that on April the 21st, the plan is to simply shut off much of the city’s water supply and set up 200 collection points where the city’s 3.7 million residents can queue to collect daily water rations.  That’s a whopping 18 000+ people per collection station collecting a ration of 25l of water each. Every day. (This link covers the nuts and bolts of what “Day Zero” is going to mean, but given it’s from November, “Day Zero” was then set for May, not April) Being carless in Cape Town is suddenly going to be a huge handicap if this thing comes to pass.

Of course, it could be that the ~60% of the city’s residents who have ignored appeals to use less than 87l of water per day, reckon winter rains will rain and everything will be fine. And they could be right. It may well be that the city authorities are over reacting. But with dams predicted to drop below 13.5% of capacity by April (13.5% being the trigger for “Day Zero”), and winter rains not normally landing until around May/ June, according to Cape Town’s wikipedia page, it could be they’re taking a bit of a reckless punt.

Plans to charge a levy on all water users were dropped after a public outcry, and current plans to charge a levy on high use only will get voted on tomorrow. The proposed levy will only kick in on excess use beyond 6000l per month though, or (roughly) 200l per day. Which given that people have been asked to use no more than 87l, imposing a levy at 200l seems a bit of a high threshold.

The Mayor, expressing what I imagine is frustration, and maybe a little fear too, has told a press briefing –

 “It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero.”

Oddly, this site, ostensibly set up to inform people, claims the current situation has been caused by two factors –  El Nino and a growing population. No direct mention then, of global warming. And one page of the site contains a prediction, made from 25 years of regional weather, that rain will fall on or around the 18th of April.

The fact that last link came out high up in a google search nestled among press reports, is slick, and that I can’t readily see who’s behind it, is somewhat disconcerting. It seems denial never dies and may even become more entrenched, the more obvious a situation appears to be.

8 comments on “Cape Town”

  1. adam 1

    The poor, and working people will be the ones to suffer on day zero.

    Edit: Day Zero sounds rather sinister by the way.

  2. weka 2

    I find it unbelievable too, shocking.

  3. Pat 3

    “But a number of details of the crisis plan remain unclear. How would one person carry 26 gallons of water for a family of four? How would the elderly and disabled cope? What about the fact that officials expect there will be insufficient water to flush the city’s toilets?”

    a curious thing that a city of 4 million running out of water hasnt had wider media coverage…this is the first Id heard …and reinforces the main reason for reading this site …there is the odd pearl to be found.

  4. eco maori 4

    Yes this show what happens when a population is miss inform on there reality which is a desaster. When they can take fate in their own HANDS and cut their water use and learn that water is a precious resource given to us from the God’s. Haveing this culture around WAI/WATER is how the world should go to avoid a desaster on a global scale in OUR future. The 1% will be fine it the common the people who will suffer in both these scenario’s we have to have a strong voice on this subject and many more. We have these incredible 21st century comunacations devices to help get the truth out there about the situation. I wonder if someone is going to make a fortune if Cape Town runs out of water many questions to ask Ka kite ano

    • eco maori 4.1

      I have more to say about the reality of this presious vital resorse WAI/WATER in Atoearoa / New Zealand this is a very serious subject we have to make the right choice to stop the neoliberals from using this vital resource to extract more money from the common people. Ka kite ano

  5. The Chairman 5

    “The water demand management strategy was successful to the point that it saw little consumption increase despite population growth, however, this approach could not have continued indefinitely with the strong growth, development and densification policy that the city has adopted, one that has tested infrastructure to the extreme and often ignored professional precautionary advice.”

  6. patricia bremner 6

    Poor people will leave what little they have, and become refugees in their own land.

  7. Tracey 7

    We all have to be mindful that water is not inexhaustable.

    My son expressed surprise the other day that people brush their teeth with the tap running. His first 5 years were in India and the habit stuck. I had two Uncles with farms and tank water so I learned at an early age to conserve water.

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