30 October 2017

South Africa: The Cape Water Crisis - Faqs and Honest Answers

opinion

In the past weeks I have been inundated with questions about the water crisis in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Here is a summary of the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Will we run out of water?

Not if the City reaches its supply augmentation targets in time and everyone stays within (and preferably below) the daily use limit of 87 litres per person.

This means:

A shower to the maximum of 2 minutes (20 litres);

Drinking water (2 litres);

Daily hygiene - brushing teeth, washing hands etc. (4 litres);

Doing the dishes and laundry (23 litres);

Three toilet flushes (27 litres).

The above usage totals 80 litres (a further valuable saving of 7 litres per person per day).

In short, we have to reduce our consumption and produce more water. If we do enough of both we will make it through the summer of 2017/18.

Why have we reached this crisis situation?

There are three main reasons: the drought; government response; public response.

The drought: We have had three years of below-average rainfall (2015, 2016, 2017). This undermined the assumptions behind the water supply projections. Severe multi-year droughts are very rare in Cape...

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