Cape Town faces Day Zero: what happens when the city turns off the taps?


In 10 weeks engineers will turn off water for a million homes as this South African city reacts to a one-in-384-year drought. The rich are digging boreholes, more are panic-buying bottled water, and the army is on standby

The head of Cape Town’s disaster operations centre is drawing up a plan he hopes he never has to implement as this South African city on the frontline of climate change prepares to be the first in the world to turn off the water taps.

“We’ve identified four risks: water shortages, sanitation failures, disease outbreaks and anarchy due to competition for scarce resources,” says Greg Pillay. “We had to go back to the drawing board. We were prepared for disruption of supply, but not a no-water scenario. In my 40 years in emergency services, this is the biggest crisis.”

The plan – being drawn up with the emergency services, the military, epidemiologists and other health experts – is geared towards Day Zero, the apocalyptically named point when water in the six-dam reservoir system falls to 13.5% of capacity.

At this critical level – currently forecast for 16 April – piped supply will be deemed to have failed and the city will dispatch teams of engineers to close the valves to about a million homes – 75% of the city.

In place of piped water, the city will establish 200 water collection points, scattered around the city to ensure the legally guaranteed minimum of 25 litres per person per day within 200 metres of every citizen’s home

“The total city budget is R40bn, so this won’t destroy us, but it will cause severe discomfort,” says the deputy mayor, Ian Neilson, who adds that he has not had a bath at home for a year. “A bigger concern is to ensure the economy doesn’t collapse. We need to keep business and jobs going … Clearly, there could be a severe impact. It depends on how long it continues.”

Neilson stresses that Day Zero can be avoided. A lowering of pipe pressure and a public information campaign to conserve water have cut the city’s daily water consumption from 1,200 million litres to 540 million litres. If this can be pushed down another 25%, the taps should stay open to the start of the rainy season in May.

But this is no guarantee. Three consecutive years of drought have made a mockery of normal seasonal patterns.

The government has struggled to keep pace. Plans to make the city more resilient to climate change by diversifying the water supply with boreholes and desalination plants were not due to kick in until after 2020. But the climate has moved faster, bringing a drought so severe it would usually be expected only once every 384 years.

What was the biggest reservoir in the system – Theewaterskloof Dam – has mostly evaporated or been sucked dry.

One side of the lake is now a desert. Devoid of life, this is a landscape of sand dunes, cracked earth and dead trees. It takes more than 30 minutes walk under a burning sun to reach the last pool of water, which is barely wide enough to skim a stone across. In what looks like a dark failure of evolution, it is ringed by the carcasses of stranded fish.

On the other side, by the dam wall, the water is nearly 10 metres deep, but the shoreline is receding at the rate of the 1.2m a week, leaving the bed exposed to the sun. The afternoon winds once attracted sail boats; now they whip up white dust storms that envelop much of the valley.


A country that is surrounded by water on three sides has a clean drinking water shortage :thinking: . Maybe someone should tell them about desalination. They get clean drinking water and salt that can be sold.




One has to ask when the last time the reservoir system was expanded? When was the last dam in Cape Town built?

"For the moment, the region is scrambling to bring new supplies on line. Four new desalination plants are under construction. New water wells are being drilled and a plant that would reuse effluent is being built. Most of those projects are more than half completed.

All but one, however, is behind schedule, as city leaders push to at least get something up and running soon."


How much infrastructure development occurred after Mandela took office? South Africa became preoccupied with social justice and social welfare at the expense of actually administering their country. Clean water just doesn’t magically show up at the tap. There is a lot of infrastructure that people take for granted.


This. The downside of citing a left source is that they blamed “global warming” right off the bat, ignoring the fact that if youre historically located in an area with occurring natural disaster (earthquake, tropical storms, droughts etc) you have to prepare accordingly. Not all dams and the water they hold last forever. But Im sure the Chinese will alleviate this problem too, for the cost of carving out even more of Africa’s resources.


Racism, socialism, and identity politics in one package: South Africa



This is why you dont let communists run your country into a shithole.


Not crazy about these two, but they’re covering an important topic.

There was one video she made that talked about how a white man was drowned in boiling water by blacks. I got so fucking pissed at that, I can’t even explain how angry it made me.


Id agree that fandom ruins everything, tho Im an avid subscriber of Molyneux. He can be wrong at times, but the people he hosts and converses to are fascinating. ( I got to admit that Ms. Southern going into S. Africa to conduct some real journalism, was a brave move). I also subscribes to Dave Rubin, so that I have a subjective sampling of both side (Rubin is a classical liberal; the recent bank robber --> law professor episode is fascinating).

And back to the topic, I really hope that these white Affrikaans can get out safely. Yes, it would be a brain-drain, but where their lives are at risk daily by brutal crimes, S. Africa and other African countries deserve the fallout.

The perpetually recycled #blm talking points of black oppresssions:

blacks are a minority and are being treated horribly by segregation
blacks are now a majority and blacks are still victimized by oppression
blacks are now occupy 99.98% of this country, please send foreign aids. also, colonialism

Look no further, Zimbabwe i.e. Rhodesia is an example.


Meanwhile major publications pump out puff pieces misleading people about S. Africa as a paradise rainbow nation still. Its funny when they started out stating the vague conception of time in the African language, and end on environmentalism

In South African parlance, things happen at two speeds: “Just now” — which could be anywhere from 10 minutes to two weeks to who knows when — or “now-now,” which means, well, now

An eco-friendly spread in the suburb of Melrose — not far from the Melrose Arch shopping development — the Peech Hotel (61 North Street, Melrose; 27-11-537-9797) has 16 rooms clustered around a lush garden. Tribal masks, animal-hide rugs and patterned armchairs add warmth to the hotel’s industrial-chic look. Doubles from 3,350 rand.


Yes, China will be the good guy in this, while the US has wasted 7 TRILLION dollars creating chaos in the ME (just ask the TIC) instead of waging war and stationing troops all around the world, China is building infrastructure and improving the lot of people’s lives in exchange for access to natural resources, the honest way.

Report demands massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global ‘access to resources’


One of my wife’s classmates emigrated back to China after living 35 years in SA- Johannesburg. She was robbed at gunpoint several times, and finally decided to get out while she could. The conditions there are mind boggling, apartment buildings with non functional elevators, and trash filling the elevator shafts,and crime levels that make Detroit look like Zurich…

The White populace needs to leave, collapsing the mines and burning anything they built on their way out.


I know that you hold the US to blame for every world ill since Moses and you are right to say that a good lot of US foreign policy since… ummm… Teddy Roosevelt has put the US nose in the middle of situations that it didn’t belong, but do not say that the us has not poured its wealth, good will and energy into the rest of the world. The ENTIRE worlds standard of living is off the back of US production. Europe would have taken decades without the Marshall Plan, like wise Japan. The US built SKorean trade as well as that of Taiwan. Russias collapse wold have been far more devastation without western investment and trade and, at the end of the day, where do you think that China came up with the bucks to afford its ‘One Road, One Belt’ program? I would say that although many times misguided by the leadership of the countries we give foreign aid to, it is directly accountable for the massive population growth in the third world. India would still be struggling to find a middle class without the business provided by the US and Europe…

You cannot say that all of US Foreign policy is bad and you cannot say that the entirety of our involvement around the world has been negative. As far as who and how our international Monroe Doctrine, it was in full swing long before WWII… I think you can blame much of that ‘Empire Building’ on people who looked at the US Constitution and spat on it… that started long before you and I were born and cemented with the actions of FDR and Truman…


YOu really dont know how China operate, do you. Who do you think are profiting from this trade of precious natural resources (limited) for infrastructures (semi-unlimited), the same infrastructures that said African countries failed to maintain and operate when they were handed over from the Dutch. Oh, and it will also cost money to maintain when these infrastructures go up.

The documentary “Empire of Dust” points out this reality.


While the US is borrowing money from China to build more battle tanks, ships, and bombers to kill more people and destroy more infrastructure, China’s out improving people’s lives.


Go to read a thread about water in South Africa. Read about China. WTF come on.


Typical illiterate bernie bot shill. Posts will always be anti-american, derailing the original post, while he stays “non-partisan” and denounces white imperialism, and support a yellow one.

And the Dutch and English colonists were not building infrastructures while gutting its colonies of its natural resources. It will be interesting to see how the africans deal with their new yellow overlords. Inb4 “the racist yellow man keeps me down” headlines in 2050.


Yep, the op shit on his own thread in post 6, hmm? :joy::joy::joy::joy: