FEATURE9 August 2018

Trickle effect: cultural water consciousness in Cape Town

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Day Zero, the day when municipal water runs out, is approaching in Cape Town. Bamm Global visited to see how the drought is affecting the way people are making everyday decisions, and found water consciousness becoming part of the cultural values of the affluent. 


Whose bucket is this? Whose bucket is this?’ We’re trailing behind a municipal policeman making his rounds in downtown Cape Town. The scene is reminiscent of boys being caught smoking behind the bike shed by a teacher, as abashed-looking guys shuffle around trying to hide their illicit car-washing materials. They explain that the water is being caught from the drains and siphoned into a drum; they’re excused and the police get ready to roll on.

From the flood planes to the pine-studded slopes of Table Mountain, Western Cape is in the midst of a severe water shortage. Since 2016, Cape Town has received only 32% of its expected rainfall and is predicted to be in the last 10% of its water supply by 2019. When the ominously styled ‘Day Zero’ arrives, the four million residents of Cape Town will be required to collect daily water rations of 25 litres. In an attempt to offset this impending crisis, the authorities have curbed ...