Cape Town Water Shortage Crisis
Mayor Patricia De Lille of Cape Town, projected that in October of 2017 that cape town city would soon be out of water within the next five months but since that announcement, the date for what is being called “Day Zero” has fluctuated between the months of April, May and even postponed to the year 2019. Day Zero can be seen as the day or time when Cape Town residents will be required to live with a stringent consumption restriction where they are had to get water through ration which stood at less than7 gallons (25 liters) per individual (Becker 2018). The drought increased the city’s ethnic and economic divisions, which are inheritances of apartheid rule (Walton 2018). It is becoming more clear that the many approaches to fix and resolve the problem of Day Zero is not adequate enough and the dooming day is quickly approaching.
My research poses a central research question: How did Cape Town, of South Africa get to a doomsday? I will look into the effects of Day Zero and what is being done by the mayor, government and residents in the delayment of Day Zero. Section 1 Effects of Day Zero When the city of Cape Town declared a date for turning off the taps water restrictions were placed on the basic commodity for over one year, drought had hit the city far worse now than ever in one hundred years. Signs such as dropping of water levels in the dams despite consumption of water increasing were ignored. These factors led to declaration of Day zero which was going to be the day the taps would be turned off, on 12th April 2018, (Christopher 2018).
This declaration came with a number of impacts which were felt within the city especially by the residents who used water regularly. Most of the residents waiting for the day claimed that the city indeed had been rocked with the worst water crisis ever in its history. Sickness Upon turning off the taps the events that would follow would have an impact on the businesses, economy, education, recreation and also social life. Muyambo et al (2017), the most affected sector would be health and the city had to put in plans to eradicate such effects. The main health areas of concern include spread of diseases such as dysentery since people will not wash their hands, dehydration cases would increase and cases of stroke will be on the rise.
Stress levels would increase resulting to more violence as people scramble for the rationed water and few health facilities. Citizens would not flush toilets therefore they could be tempted to dispose faucal waste outside which would easily lead to environmental contamination and outbreak of diseases. Phase one of the whole program began with announcement of the Day zero by the mayor of the city. The main aim was to ensure people reduced consumption of water in order to salvage the situation since dams were drying up. The city mayor aimed at the point where less than 450 million liters of water per day were consumed. It is after the cities big dams reached levels of about 13. 5 per cent that the taps would be switched off.
Although dam levels were low, weekly increase in the levels made this decision inevitable for the authorities who felt the levels were increasing to the desired ones, (Kevin 2018). Second, the City through the declaration had been able to reduce the usage of water by almost half from the one billion liters that were being consumed a day to around five hundred thousand liters a day. These meant the dams had time to refill especially during rains and thus making the execution of the Day Zero hard as the city aimed for long term goals. Moreover, the city mayor created water police who would impose and conduct searches on areas where water usage was high. The police were tasked with fining those who did not follow the rules and even installed digital water meters for those who violated the rules regularly.
Government Actions To deal with the situation the government through the police and the Defence forces have been working hard to ensure there is law and order even as people rushed to buy water especially as the Day Zero neared. The government of South Africa has embarked on strict rules and regulations which have aimed at reducing wastage of water and these rules have not only targeted the residents of the city but also the private organizations and businesses. Due to the costs and sustainability issues associated with financing such large projects like desalination of the water from the sea, the government has stepped in to help finance some of these projects. More so it has lobbied for support from international communities such as the World Bank and is now financing some of the desalination plants.
Indeed, such projects are usually costly and require a lot of capital and therefore government has also set up policies which aim at overcoming some economic obstacles that may arise during the implementation of the projects. Restaurants and hotels for instance removed plugs from guest’s rooms with these rooms being installed with showers instead of baths. Others put stickers asking guests to use water sparingly while in some malls taps were removed and replaced with hand sanitizer dispensers. Individuals have not been left as they are forced to recycle bathing water from a shower and use it to flush toilets. In fact there is an online water usage record which indicates people who are using water most and it’s made public.
In other cases, buzzers have been placed on showers such that one cannot spend more than two minutes since the buzzer makes noise and alerts everyone. Indeed, the city is not the first to come at a blink of experiencing Day Zero and it will neither be the last. Many cities across the world countries such as Morocco, Spain and Iraq are experiencing water shortages, (Wong 2018). Water insecurity is not just a real threat but also running dry is possible. Nations should come with the best ways to manage water resources through proper management, educating citizens of importance of water conservation, offering financial aids to create more ways of water conservation all could important ways through which Cape Town can see the Day Zero postponed for a longer period.
Bibliography Andersen, Nic. February 22, 2018 Thursday. https://advance. lexis. com/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:5RPS-DVP1-JCMN-Y2JT-00000-00&context=151683 Becker, Rachel. "Today Wasn't Day Zero in Cape Town, but the Water Crisis Isn't over. https://advance. lexis. com/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:5RGY-WY81-DY9S-T1KW-00000-00&context=1516831. Drury, Flora. "Icebergs and Empty Pools: Five Things Cape Town's Day Zero Taught Us. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://pulitzercenter. org/reporting/how-cape-town-defeated-day-zero-now. Kevin Winter. "Day Zero Is Meant to Cut Cape Town's Water Use - What Is It, and Is It Working? The Conversation. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://www. businessinsider. com/cape-town-day-zero-photos-inequality-2018-2. Morris, Hugh. Bahta. "Assessing Social Vulnerability to Drought in South Africa: Policy Implication for Drought Risk Reduction.
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