Cape Town's "Day Zero" - What can we learn?
Water taps for citizens and businesses were expected to shut off by April 2018, on “Day Zero”, due to the most severe drought in Cape Town in the last decade.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – Climate change is a real issue and each day its consequences are getting harder to neglect. South Africa has been slowly recovering from a drought caused by the weather phenomenon El Niño that disrupted the regional weather patterns.
Earlier this year, citizens of Cape Town, South Africa’s second largest city, have been warned to save water by limiting consumption to maximum 50 litres of water per person per day. This meant conserving water by changing habits: limiting the flushing of toilets by reusing waste water, showering two times a week for a duration of 90 seconds, and so on. The aim of the warning was to prevent “Day Zero” – the day that the taps would run dry.
However, Cape Town is not the only city facing such an extreme crisis. Mexico City, Jakarta, Beijing, Tokyo, Istanbul, among others, are confronted with similar issues. Water scarcity is becoming a global threat that calls for a change in behaving, thinking and living. Citizens and businesses all over the world must recognise the need for building resilient cities and creating sustainable solutions for global challenges.
The water technology industry recognises the need for building water resilient cities. Dr Kevin Winter, Senior Lecturer and Lead Researcher has been vocal about solutions concerning this issue: “It takes a lot of time to build desalination modules, three to five years, and at considerable cost.“ He goes on: “They’re even costlier to build during a crisis.” Mr. Winter is travelling this September to Mexico City to join the conference at Aquatech Mexico. He will take Cape Town’s water crisis as a case study and will explore possible solutions that the water industry could implement in Mexico and in other areas around the world for preventing and managing such disasters in the future.