Towards a water secure future: reflections on Cape Town’s Day Zero crisis

Towards a water secure future: reflections on Cape Town’s Day Zero crisis

Lina Taing, C. C. Chang, S. Pan & N. P. Armitage (2019) Towards a water secure future: reflections on Cape Town’s Day Zero crisis, Urban Water Journal, DOI: 10.1080/1573062X.2019.1669190

Capetonians have relied on dams to meet their needs for over a century. Extremely limited rainfall between 2015–2018, however, forced the City to impose a 50-litres per capita per day water restriction on its four million residents to avoid supply cut-offs. Cape Town’s water crisis highlights the importance of moving away from past infrastructural practices. South Africa needs a new water paradigm that embeds water sustainability and resilience in day-to-day practices that, inter alia, protects the natural water systems and ensures a sustainable water supply through reducing the environmental footprint of a growing population and developing alternative supply systems to dam infrastructure. To accomplish this, government, the private sector and consumers need to work together to develop and implement a water sensitive approach that will transform water planning, supply and demand at scale.