Ever since I arrived in South Africa I’ve known there was a drought in the Western Cape. As the months have gone on the dam levels have decreased rapidly. After 1 month of being here I saw a sign on the motorway saying there was 36% water in the dams left.
Now just before we go into the hottest month of the year in Cape Town we have 6% of water left. Over the last few months the government has raised the restrictions on water and constantly changed an extremely vague date of when there will be no water left. About a week ago they released a report that the date is set for Day Zero at 22nd April. Only 3 days later that date was brought forward to the 12th April. This just shows how unsure the government is and this date will most likely carry on being brought forward.
As the news of the water crisis spreads across the world I think the true panic is starting to really set in for the locals here. Today I went to the supermarket to get two 5L bottles of water for emergency. Unfortunately this is what I found at the super market.
Yvonne, our host has created a ‘Survival Kit’ of cleaning and hygiene products to reduce our water usage, which should be 50L per day from February onwards (including flushing the toilet which uses 20L every flush due to the old systems at the children’s home). The survival kit includes using baby powder rather than washing your hair, buckets to catch shower water from the drain to flush the toilets, vinegar and newspaper to wash our dishes, and the list goes on.
Every time someone goes to the beach we will be taking sea water in buckets to use for showering. Although within days I’m sure this will be stopped and police will be guarding the beaches.
I never expected to experience this is South Africa when I applied or even after doing my research and preparing to pack. I maybe could imagine going to a well and carrying water but the concept that there is no drinkable water is crazy.
There will be water stations coming from other sources where you can collect 25L per day per person from. However if one person from a family (on average 4 people per family) went to the collection points each day, there would 5,000 people waiting in queues to collect their water everyday. Unfortunately for volunteers is that we won’t be allocated this water as we are not citizens and have not yet been considered by the government on what will happen to us.
The impact of Day Zero is going to huge. People will die of dehydration. Businesses will shut down. People will lose their jobs. Unemployment rates will rise sky high. More people will be forced to live in townships. Food prices will rise. Families will starve. Elderly and children will not be able to queue for water and will have to rely on others. People will turn to crime for water. There will be riots. There will be people breaking into homes to steal water. Cape Town will suffer immensely.
All I can do is try to cut back on my water usage everyday and be thankful I have a home in a country where this is not happening. I do not have a family relying on me to get water and keep a job. After I return in August the locals will still face the aftermath of Day Zero.
The UK and every other country there isn’t a water crisis have also caused this to happen in South Africa. There has never been a water crisis here. This is the affect of Global Warming and Climate Change. EVERYONE NEEDS TO START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PLANET WE LIVE ON.