The Water Games 2018: Capetonians stockpile bottled water ahead of day zero


Cape Town Day Zero: Planner warns of ‘temporary evacuation’

You are saving water, aren’t you?

The Water Games 2018: Capetonians stockpile bottled water ahead of day zero


The City of Cape Town insists that there will be no ‘day zero’ – the day where the city runs out of water. But with dipping dam levels, scorching temperatures and incoming tourists, a few folks are getting pretty nervous.

Also read: How much you’ll have to pay for Cape Town’s ‘water tax’

But what will Day Zero actually look like? What will happen? It’s likely to be a gradual process, but Bloomberg recently spoke to a few people who pondered what might happen.

Bob Scholes, a professor of systems ecology at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, had this to say.

“Running out of water in places that have a highly developed water infrastructure is not that common,” he said. “I know of no example of a city the size of Cape Town running out of water. It would be quite catastrophic.”

Clem Sunter, an independent scenario planner who has also been advising the city, meanwhile, painted a grim picture.

“I don’t want to underestimate how catastrophic Day Zero could be. It would require thousands of tankers to provide a minimal level of water to each person. You would have to think of temporarily evacuating people.”

At current levels, estimates put Cape Town as ‘safe’ until the end of April 2018. This is when the dam levels will reach 10% if current usage continues.  With the next rainy season still months away, residents are constantly reminded that they need to do absolutely everything to save water.

TimesLive reported in November that people will have to make do with 25litres of water per day for washing, cooking and personal hygiene if dam levels drop below 13.5% in Cape Town.

Back then, mayor Patricia de Lille described what Day Zero will look like.

“I want to bring you into my confidence to tell you what will happen if day zero arrives. Dam levels must at least be at 13.5%. If they go below that, that is the day we will turn off the taps.

“We have to exclude the densely populated areas like the townships. If we turn the taps off there, we face significant risks in those areas like disease.”

If this isn’t enough to jolt you into saving – if for some absurd reason you aren’t already – then… well….ja.