Cape Town has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I feel that the sun shines brighter, the ocean is bluer, the sea food is fresher, there’s a wider variety of flora and fauna… Not to forget the Table Mountain and quaint little places such as Simon’s Town…
Last December, my friend Bobo, visited the place and amid conversation and viewing of the photos from her vacation she mentioned that their Air BnB host had requested that they take 2 minute showers. I thought that was funny, until she explained the gravity of the water situation in CT.
Below in italics are excerpts from various news outlets on the situation in the city:
What was the biggest reservoir in the system – Theewaterskloof Dam – has mostly evaporated or been sucked dry.
One side of the lake is now a desert. Devoid of life, this is a landscape of sand dunes, cracked earth and dead trees. It takes more than 30 minutes walk under a burning sun to reach the last pool of water, which is barely wide enough to skim a stone across. In what looks like a dark failure of evolution, it is ringed by the carcasses of stranded fish.On the other side, by the dam wall, the water is nearly 10 metres deep, but the shoreline is receding at the rate of the 1.2metres a week, leaving the bed exposed to the sun. The afternoon winds once attracted sail boats; now they whip up white dust storms that envelop much of the valley. – The Guardian
Residents have been asked to use no more than 50 litres of water daily, down from the current limit of 87 litres. The use of city drinking water to wash vehicles, hose down paved areas, fill up private swimming pools and water gardens is illegal. Residents using too much water will be fined or have devices that limit water supply installed on their properties, according to the rules… Political factions are also bickering about alleged failures to respond to warnings years ago about a looming water crisis.- Global News Canada
Poor management of the city’s water system, which relies almost entirely on rainfall, also contributed to the growing crisis. But as fossil fuel emissions continue to drive up global temperatures, drought risk is expected rise in places like southwestern Africa and California.- The Verge
Day Zero is an estimated date between April 15 and May 11 when taps will be turned off everywhere except at hospitals and at communal taps.Residents, with nothing in their homes to drink, wash or bathe in will have to collect water from about 200 collection points in the city. – The Guardian
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is real. It could happen anywhere in the world. When you look at the images and hear the stories of people fighting for water, it looks and sounds like something out of the apocalypse. Sadly, there are millions of people in the world, whose reality at this very moment is no water.
There have been many arguments as to how Cape Town got to this point. The drought began in 2015, are the measures being taken a little too late? What can we learn from this experience?
i. The importance of the 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Reduce the use of water in your household. Yes, you may have free flowing water, but consider the future. If you’re not using the water, close the tap.
- Reuse your water. Capetonians have been advised to use their washing water to flush their loos… It is quite common in Kenya, to use the water used to wash clothes to clean the verandas, flush loos…
- Recycle the water… This is at the municipal level. The reclaimed wastewater can be used for irrigation of gardens and farms, to recharge groundwater which will help in time of drought and for other non-consumptive uses e.g flushing loos in the house.
ii. Engage us watershed managers to develop Water Action Plans for your town/city. These plans usually revolve around the 3Rs and ensure sustainable and efficient water use.
iii. Political will in conservation matters… Mr. Politician… Ecology is permanent Economy… Consider the environmental conservation in your strategies and plans.
iv. Community awareness on environmental matters. If I was a resident of Cape Town and didn’t understand what was going on with regards to the drought, lack of rain and lack of water, I’d be very annoyed. I’d have steam coming out of my ears, because, I wouldn’t understand why I didn’t have water running in my taps. It is important for the community/ we the people to know, acknowledge and understand our rights, roles and responsibilities in water/ environment conservation.
I earnestly pray and hope for rain…