South Africa: Crisis Mode - It's Time to Sound the Alarm On the Eastern Cape Water Shortage

Dry soil (file photo).
opinion

The water situation in the Eastern Cape is a clear and present emergency. The province's seven million people are living in fear and anxiety due to a major shortage of water, a situation that has been going on for many years, but which has now degenerated into a crisis.

If one were to go by general media coverage, we might be tempted to think that the second-biggest crisis in South Africa right now -- after the Covid-19 crisis, of course -- is Cyril vs Ace, and yet it is not.

It is the impending Day Zero situation in the Eastern Cape. A multiyear drought has left the province reeling. Day Zero is slated for 1 June 2021 in many parts of the province. Day Zero is the day when a particular area officially runs out of water. We saw this in Cape Town in 2018, when a multi-year drought emptied dams and the taps almost ran dry. Provincial and city authorities outlined plans for the start of Level 7 water restrictions when water services would be officially cut off and it would be every person for themselves.

Cape Town's Day Zero campaign was the biggest environmental story of the 2010s....

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