Cape Town Goes Under

As the drought continues, many people in Cape Town, South Africa are suffering due to the minimizing amounts of water they have available in their daily lives. One woman, Suitaara Stodel, has buckets of water scattered around her house, to use for her morning shower, washing machine, the toilet and her plants. She also stopped shaving her legs and uses very little to keep a clean hygiene.

Just like Suitaara, many people in Cape Town, one of the most heavily populated cities in South Africa, are beginning to do the same amongst their years long drought. According to officials, “Day Zero,” is the forecast for April 12, predicting that is when Cape Town will run dry. In order to avoid “Day Zero,” residents are restricted to 13.2 gallons a day, although Americans use roughly 80-100 gallons of water daily. If “Day Zero” does occur, the people of Cape Town must report to guarded security forces in order to obtain a minimum of 6.6 gallons a day. In addition, hospitals and schools would continue the run of water, as well as communal taps in poor areas in order to prevent the spread of disease. One housekeeper is scared of the severity of this issue, stating, “many people tell me they think I’m crazy for doing all these things to save water at home. They just don’t see the reality of this problem”. In order to clean, she also needs to use minimal amounts of water, filling two small spray bottles with soap and water, so, she does not fill a bucket.

The WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) warns people to be prepared to live with very little water for three to six months, depending on the amount of rainfall in the areas that feed into the city’s dams. Cape Town residents are scared for what’s to come and upset at the severity of the issue, but, preserving enough to maintain a safe environment.