South Africa: Have We Already Forgotten Cape Town's Crippling Day Zero Drought?

Water collection points set up in Cape Town in preparation for Day Zero (file photo).

The extreme droughts and water scarcity that are becoming the new normal will be like kerosene on the fire of our everyday development challenges. With just a handful of South Africans taking part in the global climate protests, it seems we still don't join the dots between business-as-usual carbon pollution and the climate shocks set to shatter our fragile society.

What do you do with the contents of your daily bowel movement, when you live in a third-storey flat in the suburbs, and the water stops running into the toilet cistern so you can't conveniently flush it away?

The urine bit is easy to trouble-shoot: you could still use the toilet bowl. But the paper would have to go into a dry bin, the way they do in some South American cities. To void your bowels, though, you'd probably need to squat over a sealable bucket, cover the offending matter with a cupful of sawdust, and jam the lid back on until next time you feel your bowels push. But what do you do when the bucket is full?

Capetonians seem to already have forgotten how close the city came to an almost unimaginable sanitation collapse just 18 months ago,...

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