Cape Town crisis: preparing for life without running water

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 1, 2018

The satellite images, supplied to SBS News by Planet Labs Inc, show Cape Town's biggest water reservoir, Theewaterskloof Dam, at dangerously low levels.

Nearly 80 percent of about 700 companies that participated in the survey conducted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry this month said they see the water crisis as a threat to their businesses, up from 51 percent in October, the chamber said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they had more than halved their water consumption.

Cape Town is facing a dystopian future - on 12 April, dubbed Day Zero, the South African city is expected to become the world's first major metropolis to run out of water. Householders and traders would be forced to queue at 200 water collection points to collect a daily allocation of 25 litres per person - less than a two-minute shower.

The start of the Strandfontein temporary desalination plant
The start of the Strandfontein temporary desalination plant

As the countdown begins to "Day Zero", let's get together as a community, as we did for the Knysna fires, and send much needed water to the Western Cape province.

Some residents are stockpiling water from natural springs, while others are believed to be turning to the black market. Several companies are installing their own desalination plants and gray water systems.

Nearly seven percent of businesses warned they would be forced to shut if Day Zero arrived, while 11 percent said they would send their staff home.

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