South African looking at Cape Town. Photo credit: Joshua Earle

Cape Town braces for severe water crisis


Slumps in Business

South Africa’s wine industry, the seventh-largest producers of wine in the world, takes a huge economic hit for the third season. The lack of rain and reduced water quotas make it difficult to keep crops healthy and robust.

Added to the loss of water are drops in tourism. Right now, it is summer in South Africa, and high tourist season; but the drought and wildfire blazes scare off visitors.

To curve water shortage, the city says that it will shut down main water sources.

GroundUp, a South African news media facilitated a Q&A between Cape residents and city officials.

When asked how the water rationing will impact businesses, JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety & Security and Social Services said the following:

  • Strategic commercial areas, high-density areas with significant risk of increased burden of disease, such as informal settlements, and critical services, such as hospitals, old age homes, prisons, hospitals, fire stations, police stations, clinics, children homes, where possible, will continue to receive drinking water through normal channels. Significant monitoring and enforcement will be put in place to ensure that water usage at these points is significantly reduced.

Inequities Emerge

The most affected groups will be the regions poor black and coloured populations who have been protesting the water shortage programs.

The Cape Town Water Crisis Coalition (CTWCC) says that the efforts of the city lead to the privatization of water and further disenfranchising already vulnerable populations. This week, hundreds protest the city’s water crisis management.

While key businesses and institutions will remain open, officials ready to use armed forces at watering queues. As well, a water crisis headquarters is in place as the world watches a slow-moving catastrophe that has quickened recently.

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