World Watches as Clock Ticks For Cape Town. Planet's First Major City to Face Water Supply “Day Zero”. South Africa And International Media Interest Intensifies. This is How Press Coverage (20 News Stories) is Playing Out This Week (updates will continue)

24 Jan 2018 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
Cape Town, South Africa


The South African - Day zero leaps forward by nine days for Cape Town

“It was initially projected for Sunday 21 April 2018. But, as confirmed by the (City of Cape Town) COCT website, that date has come forward nine days, to Thursday 12 April 2018. As of the date of this article (22/01/2018), Cape Town has 80 days before the taps are shut off”.

Independent Online – Zille Takes Charge of Western Cape’s #WaterCrisis

“Western Cape premier Helen Zille has written to President Jacob Zuma requesting that a National Disaster be declared due to the ongoing drought in the province. "The National Disaster Management Act creates provision for a national disaster when more than one province is affected, or when additional resources are required to mitigate the national ramifications of a disaster," her office said in a statement”. 

(All Cape Town headlines and excerpts here)

BusinessTech - 6 things that will happen when Cape Town’s water crisis hits day zero

“Following the city’s most recent oversight discussions, Zille outlined the current plans for when the big day arrives. One week before the six dams providing water to the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) are collectively expected to drop to 13.5%, the City will announce the date on which almost all the taps in Cape Town’s residential suburbs will be cut off. Surrounding towns which are heavily reliant on these dams (such as Drakenstein, parts of Stellenbosch and towns on the West Coast) will likely also be turned off. Municipal water may only be available at 200 Points of Distribution (PoDs) across the City. The maximum allocation will be 25 litres per person per day, distributed on the assumption that an average family comprises four persons. If every family sends one person to fetch their water allocation, about 5,000 people will congregate at each PoD every day. Discussions are underway with SAB and the South African Bureau of Standards to sell water for R1 a quart (similar to a 750ml beer bottle)”. – Does the CoCT Know What it is Doing?

“The only information available thus far is that the city will have to control the distribution of 25 litres per individual daily from sanctioned pick-up points. However, how this control will be implemented and to what degree residents will be able to collect water for their older or infirm community members is, at this point, still unknown”.

Daily Maverick - Op-Ed: Bracing for disaster, Capetonians can take deep breaths and save last drops of water

“In the last few days, the conversation around Cape Town’s water crisis, at least in the media, has changed significantly in tone and urgency. Even our politicians, bless them, have taken steps towards acting decisively, as opposed to saying they will act decisively. (Well, thanks. Better late than never.) This probably has something to do with the fact that Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille finally came out and said what many water researchers and other experts have been saying, both on and off the record, for months: the augmentation solutions, or lack thereof, are not going to get us out of this mess. They are simply not adequate. Whoever is to blame, we are running out of water and time”.

Times Live - How will Day Zero work? Don't ask the City of Cape Town

“Day Zero is coming in Cape Town‚ mayor Patricia de Lille admitted this week‚ but her city council has no detailed plans for how it will work. After spending the week repeatedly asking for more time to answer TimesLive questions‚ the council finally replied on Friday evening by saying nothing had been finalized”.

CBS News - Cape Town, on verge of running out of water, braces for "chaos"

““There have already been scuffles at the natural spring. Security guards now monitor the site to prevent violence from breaking out. "And imagine no water, how will it be. Chaos. It's going to be terrible. And we're not looking forward to that time," Erma Da Costa said”.

How severe is Cape Town's drought? A detailed look at the data

“In this article I look at the most up-to-date rainfall data to assess how severe the current drought is. I have tried to answer that question before. But that article was based on very limited data, and was carried out well before 2017's rainy season had finished. Now I have a more comprehensive dataset, which provides an opportunity to perform a more robust assessment”.

Bluefield Research - South Africa's largest city is quickly running out of water

“In May 2017, Bluefield water experts analyzed Cape Town's drought mitigation strategies, including investment in reuse and desalination. The government's slow motion response highlights the broader impacts of climate volatility on municipalities, globally, and their push to adopt more innovative water supply strategies. Solutions already exist in Public-Private Partnerships, Water Reuse, Desalination, Smart Water Projects, Conservation ... or more realistically, a combination thereof. Other cities should take note - Sao Paulo and Los Angeles - may not be far behind”.

Sputnik News – S Africa Hopes to Solve Water Crisis on its Own as Day Zero Looms

“South Africa is not looking for international support to resolve critical water shortages in the drought-hit province of Western Cape and its capital of Cape Town, as Day Zero, when the city will run out of water, approaches, Sputnik Ratau, the spokesman for South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation told Sputnik. "We do have some of our compatriots who have come to our aid, one of them is the Gift of the Givers [NGO] that has done some work. We have not gone out to the international arena to look for assistance that way because we believe the experience that what we have seen from the drought in the last while [in South Africa], that we can still be able to overcome the issues of the drought in the Western Cape," Ratau said”.

Moneyweb - Cape Town offers a grim preview for the rest of the world

“If we’re going to allocate blame, to my mind the largest share accrues to the national government. In the late 2000s, Cape Town’s municipal government was warned that it would need new water sources; it worked instead on a sensible demand strategy that focused on infrastructure repair, water pressure management and so on. The city met its water saving target three years in advance. The national government, by contrast, chose to allocate an excessive amount of water to agriculture in the Western Cape”.

Eyewitness News – What Are The Health Implications of Day Zero?

“Western Cape government officials say plans are in place to deal with possible disease outbreaks as a result of the water shortage. [Listen] CapeTalk’s Africa Melane talks to Jo Barnes, a senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University, about the health implications when Day Zero finally hits and the taps run dry”.

The Maravi Post - Warning to South Africans; 5 Diseases You Risk Getting if we Run Out of Water

“Typhoid; Gastroenteritis; Salmonella; Cholera; Mosquito-borne diseases”

Mail and Guardian - Researchers warn “purified” Cape Town sea water will be contaminated

“After the City of Cape Town spends at least half a billion rands to build desalination plants, the “purified” seawater these produce will have been cleared of little more than floating nappies and junk before it is declared safe to drink — despite the presence of organisms such as E. coli — South African researchers have warned”.

Business Day - Even smaller grape harvest expected

“The wine industry, which is struggling because of severe drought conditions in the Western Cape, is predicting an even smaller grape harvest than had been previously estimated. The local wine industry is the ninth-largest producer of wine in the world and contributes 4% to global production. SA exports 440-million litres of wine annually and sells 400-million liters locally”.

News24 - SAB to quench Capetonians' thirst – but with a different drink

“South African Breweries (SAB) will be helping Capetonians struggling through the drought crisis by shipping out 12 million quart bottles of a drink not usually associated with the company. SAB general manager John Stenslund confirmed that 9 million litres of water – bottled in 12 million 750ml SAB quart bottles – would be distributed to assist with the severe drought”.

MyBroadband – The Tech Cape Town Hopes Will Save Water

The technology being deployed, according to the report, is: Restrictors that detect vandalized and broken pipes in Western Cape schools. Remote-access time-of-use water meters in 358 of the province’s 1,672 schools. Air condensers in government buildings to produce water for ventilation and air conditioning systems. Public works is experimenting with bioretention in areas that capture stormwater and allow it to be recovered through boreholes.

BBC News – My Wife Doesn’t Shower Any More

“Instead, she boils about 1.5 liters of water and mixes it with about a liter of tap water to have her daily wash while the rest of us catch the slow running water in a bucket for re-use in the toilet cistern”.

Sport24 – Cape Town Open Moved Due to Cape Drought

"The continuous drought and water shortage in the Western Cape is presenting a serious challenge to us all," said the Chief Operations Officer of the Sunshine Tour, Grant Wilson. "With this in mind, we have made a decision to move the event to King David Mowbray for this year." Quite why the Sunshine Tour believe the 11km distance between the two courses would make a difference, isn't clear from the press release”.

Conde Nast – Should You Cancel Your Trip to Cape Town?

“"It's a tense situation and the pressure of [the water crisis] is palpable in the air. I think if people hold off travel until the later part of the year, after the June/July rains come, it would take a lot of pressure off," says Deborah Calmeyer, the owner of safari outfitter Roar Africa, who splits her time between Cape Town and New York”

More soon from the OOSKAnews media-monitoring team.