Cape Town Water Crisis (2018)

We can debate about the exact date when Day Zero will be upon us, will it arrive early in March, later in May or even better, be avoided all together if beneficial, soaking rain falls in the catchment areas of dams and aquifers soon. The reality is that Day Zero has already arrived: when animals are dying of thirst, when vineyards fail because of drought, when tens of thousands of farm labourers are laid off because of crop failure, when people (even those in vehicles ranging in price from 800k - 1.5 million rand and upwards) stand in queues to collect water from springs that have not been tested for quality, chemicals and infection, when people walk out of malls with trolley loads of bottled water, when bottled water is not available at any price in Cape Town, when expensive vehicles are parked on streets in high risk areas to make way for  bottled water in the garage, when 170 institutions catering for the physically and mentally challenged, the elderly, orphanages and the like call you in a state of distress, when Tygerberg and other hospitals call for urgent assistance, when schools, religious facilities and individual families request water assistance, when animal shelters plead for a drop for our four-footed friends, when communities in De Doorns, Tousrivier, Tulbagh, Bonnievale, Vredendal, Hantam, Calvinia, Breede Rivier Valley, Ceres, Witzenberg, Macassur and many others call in desperation to say "we are almost out of water", it means we are at Day Zero, when water supply cannot meet the basic essentials of drinking, washing, ablution and hygiene, we are at Day Zero. Western Cape in reality is already at Day Zero; 50L per day cannot adequately meet personal daily requirements. The authorities have no choice but to intervene in the most decisive way possible.

Alternatives include boreholes, well points, spring water, water tankers and bottled water.

Gift of the Givers drought intervention programme in Cape provinces commenced last year. Forty million rand in fodder was delivered to hundreds of farmers; 4000 food parcels were distributed to farm labourers who lost their jobs because of the drought. Five boreholes were drilled in the Witperd area of Beaufort West providing 250 000 litres per day into the Gamka Dam pipeline. Three additional boreholes have been drilled in the Walker Dam area. These will add another 100 000 litres per day to the town. Huis Hesperos and Huis Johannes (both homes for the elderly) in Beaufort West received boreholes last week. Pumps will be installed in a few days. Bottled water was delivered to and has been stored in Laingsburg.

Drilling has commenced in De Doorns and will be extended to Tous Rivier, Tulbagh, Bonnievale and Ceres in the days to come. Other water depleted areas are being considered. Khayelitsha Hospital was visited last week  to assess needs. Community leaders in Khayelitsha have been engaged as to preferred interventions. Tygerberg Hospital and Maitlands Cottage Children's Orthopaedic Hospital have requested assistance. They will be visited today. Bottled water collections are ongoing throughout South Africa and are being stockpiled but it appears that the rollout has to be soon as the calls for water assistance are growing exponentially in the region.

Gift of the Givers appreciates the huge effort underway for the collection of bottled water, the cash contributions , sponsorship of boreholes, JoJo tanks, warehousing space and free transport.
  • CPT_1