Watertekort in Kaapstad

Waarschijnlijk heb je het al in het nieuws gelezen, Kaapstad heeft te maken met een serieus watertekort. Er wordt al gesproken over D-day!

TravelUnique biedt diverse projecten aan in Kaapstad. Kun je hier nu nog wel vrijwilligerswerk gaan doen?

Dat kan zeker. Onze partner in Kaapstad is African Impact. Ze schrijven het volgende:

Your shower might be shorter, your linen may only be washed every other week, but the amazing communities we work with in Cape Town need YOU now more than ever. OUR city welcomes you with open arms, ready to make a positive impact on the ground and we guarantee you’ll have a once in a lifetime unique experience, in spite of the drought!

Statement from African Impact:

The city of Cape Town is currently experiencing a drought due to three consecutive years of lower than average rainfall. International visitors and volunteers should rest assured that African Impact and Cape Town will continue not only to receive them and have them experience one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but have a secure supply of water to ensure they are able to support the communities we have been working with for years.

Facts: 

  • The drought is region-specific and has not affected the rest of South Africa.
  • Just 90 minutes away from Cape Town, in popular destinations such as Hermanus, there are no water restrictions whatsoever.
  • Nearby farming communities have contributed 10 billion litres to alleviate the situation.
  • The most senior officials working on this crisis firmly believe that although it will take an effort by all involved, Cape Town will avoid what has been called “Day Zero”.
  • Day Zero is the hypothetical day when dam levels might fall below 13.5% and Cape Town residents would be restricted to 25 litres of water per day in order to ensure that the dams do not run dry. It is NOT the day that Cape Town runs out of water.
  • Plans are being implemented to tap into other sources of water.
  • Even in the unlikely event of Day Zero, visitors and volunteers will still be able to enjoy the diverse and world-class experiences Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer, while making a positive impact in communities very much in need of support and assistance from volunteers.
  • Although sporadic, it continues to rain in Cape Town. The city is hopeful that winter rains will be sufficient to fill our dams.
  • International tourists account for just 1% of water usage in Cape Town during peak season. The impact of tourism and even more, voluntourism, on water consumption is insignificant compared to the benefit that tourism and volunteers brings to the city and its communities.
  • Cape Town has already managed to bring down water consumption from pre-restriction levels of 1.1 billion litres a day to current consumption of 526 million litres per day.
  • A new desalination plant in the V&A Waterfront will produce 2 million litres of water per day and will be operational in March 2018.
  • The new desalination plant will be one of a network of 8 desalination plants spread across the city. The plants will together provide 108 million litres of water per day.

Our Cape Town projects have pledged to save water and abide by the current water restrictions to save as much water as possible. All of our volunteers are playing their part in being mindful in their water consumption too. What did we do at the Capetown project:

  • We have installed devices to reduce the pressure of the water in showers and taps. 
  • We are collecting water from the rain and showers and reusing it to flush toilets.
  • We encourage buying bottled water for drinking. 
  • We have placed waterless hand sanitizers to reduce the use of water. 
  • We have reduced the amount of laundry done every week. 
  • All showers are reduced to under 2 minutes. 
  • We engage with our staff and volunteers on a regular basis and discuss new ways in which we can all contribute to reduce the use of water.

Contingency plan if ‘Day Zero’ occurs If Day Zero were to occur, don’t worry, since our staff and team have a contingency plan in place that will guarantee you will still have water and will be able to enjoy Cape Town while contributing to the development of the communities we work. So, please be sure that all of our volunteers will be well looked after in the event of any water shortages.

  • We have access to boreholes that will provide water to our team and volunteers.
  • We will provide mineral drinking water to volunteers. 
  • We have storage tanks that will collect water, providing an extra source of water.

How can you help?

First of all, the best way for you to help is to COME TO CAPE TOWN AND VOLUNTEER! The different communities we work with in the informal settlements in Cape Town count on the support from us and our volunteers, so need our support now more than ever.  But here are some extra tips or thing you should consider doing or bringing with you so to reduce the water usage: 

  • Listen to our experienced staff and abide by the current water restrictions, reducing your shower times and use of water as much as possible. 
  • Consider bringing dry shampoo so to reduce the water usage while showering.  Bring hand sanitizer with you. 
  • Bring baby wipes. 
  • Consider bringing more clothes with you so to reduce the amount of laundry you need to do while in Cape Town. 
  • Tell your friends and family to come and support Cape Town and its communities!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will there be water for people who want to volunteer in Cape Town? YES, rest assured that volunteers will have water! Cape Town has sufficient water for volunteers to wash their clothes, use the toilet, shower and drink. In the event of ‘Day Zero’, normal water supply will be cut off but a plan has been implemented to ensure adequate fresh water for the needs addressed above. At the moment, level 6B water restrictions are in place.
  2. What does “Day Zero” mean?  In the event of ’Day Zero’ (a hypothetical projected date, estimated originally in April but pushed twice, first to May 11th and now to June 4th. Hopefully it will keep being delayed or avoided), Cape Town will cut off the usual flow of water. If all stakeholders, including volunteers, adhere to the water restrictions, ‘Day Zero’ can be avoided. Nevertheless, water in hospitals, clinics, informal settlements, etc. won’t be cut off. However, if ‘Day Zero’ was implemented, volunteers will still be able to have the necessary amount of water and enjoy Cape Town and the experiences it has to offer.
  3. How does level 6 B water restrictions affect volunteers?  At the moment, Level 6B restrictions have been implemented in Cape Town meaning that ‘a daily limit of 50 litres or less per person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere’ is allowed. This has proven enough at the moment and all of our volunteers have been able to comply by these restrictions and still have a great experience in Cape Town.
  4. How long will the taps be shut off when “Day Zero” arrives?  Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate, which means it has winter rainfall. Cape Town experiences their winter rainfall in June, but it may come as early as April. The stringent water restrictions will last until there is enough rainfall to feed our water supply system.
  5. Is the whole of South Africa suffering from the drought, or only Cape Town? The drought is mostly isolated to Cape Town, but affects Cape Town’s surrounding areas where water is stored in dams. Nearby areas, including the Garden Route, are less affected by restrictions.
  6. Will volunteers have access to drinking water?  Yes of course. Cape Town suggests that you drink 2 litres of water per day and volunteers will definitely be able to have plenty of drinking water.
  7. Will volunteers be able to shower, bath or swim in a swimming pool?  Volunteers will be able to shower and take care of hygiene! Currently, restrictions imply that a 2 minute shower and daily hygiene can be maintained in the drought. However, bathing is discouraged. Some swimming pools have been converted into salt water pools.
  8. Will the hospitality industry, i.e. restaurants and bars, still be in operation?   Yes, most restaurants have put in precautions for ‘Day Zero’ and stick to the water restriction guidelines. Therefore, they are not affected by the drought thus far; and as long as they stick to the water restriction guidelines they will operate normally.
  9. Which tourism activities will be affected by the drought?  All major tourist attractions will be available for our volunteers to visit; but any fresh water-based activities may be impacted.
  10. Will I still have access to medical services after “Day Zero”?  Yes! All emergency services will be running in the event of ‘Day Zero’.
  11. Is it irresponsible for volunteers to come to Cape Town during the drought?  No, as long as volunteers are mindful about the drought in the city, Cape Town is not only open for them and welcomes them with open arms, but all of the communities we work with need them more than ever. If Day Zero were to come, some schools may close, meaning children can easily fall behind in their education. Volunteer support at our after-school program ensures these children can keep up with their education and have a safe space to learn.  During November to January (peak season), tourists only make up 1% of the population in the Western Cape, so volunteers joining won’t affect the water supply as long as they are mindful and stick to the regulations, and the impact they can make in the communities during this time is not only extremely helpful and impactful but very much needed.

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