KWR Kees Roest by KWR Kees Roest
03 May 2019

Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ Water Crisis, One Year Later

Cape Town avoided Day Zero with some action (including cutting off farmers) and luck, but even with resevoirs filled for 50%, awareness and change is needed. Urban water restrictions remain in place, although less strict than before, and the legacy of the drought can still be seen all around Cape Town. Other cities can learn from Cape Town and prepare in advance....

A Year After 'Day Zero,' Cape Town's Drought Is Over, But Water Challenges Remain

Residents queue to fill containers with spring water in Cape Town on February 2, 2018, one of the measures taken to avert “Day Zero.”Bram Janssen/AP In spring 2018, news of the water crisis in South Africa ricocheted around the world—then the story disappeared. So what happened? In January 2018, when officials in Cape Town announced that the city of 4 million people was three months away from running out of municipal water, the world was stunned. Labelled “Day Zero” by local officials and brought on by three consecutive years of anemic rainfall, April 12, 2018, was to be the date of the largest drought-induced municipal water failure in modern history. Photos of parched-earth dams and residents lining up to collect spring water splashed across news sites. The city’s contingency plan called for the entire population to collect its water—a maximum of a two-minute-shower’s-worth a day per person—from 200 centralized water centers, each serving the population equivalent of an MLS soccer stadium. Then April 12th came and went, and news of the crisis evaporated. Sand blows across a normally submerged area at Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town, January 20, 2018. (Mike Hutchings/Reuters) One year on, Cape Town has apparently made it through the worst of a historic...

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