Skip to Content

Patricia De Lille (Wikipedia)

Why is Cape Town running out of water?

Cape Town is facing Day Zero, when the water supply runs out. In 2017, southern Europe, especially Italy and Spain, had a devastating drought that caused huge damage to agriculture, and yet their cities did not run out of water.

Published: January 22, 2018, 8:41 am

    Cape Town

    So why is it happening in South Africa? The city in crisis mode thanks to poor planning. Given current water consumption, the city has approximately 90 days until it runs out of water. Officials had been warned decades ago of the looming infrastructure requirements to avert a water crisis, but ignored the warnings.

    Coloured mayor Patricia de Lille admitted last Thursday — the day before the City of Cape Town voted to relieve her of power  — that Day Zero was now likely. The projected date is April 20‚ though it is likely to be sooner.

    De Lille faces eight charges of impropriety and maladministration in the running of the city.

    The city, a major tourist destination, will soon be forced to shut off water supplies to all but essential consumers, such as hospitals. This would mark the first major city in the world to run out of water, Bloomberg reported. But the media outlet blamed “a prolonged 3-year drought” and not poor management.

    As the city approaches Day Zero, the four million mainly English-speaking South Africans living in the Cape Town metropolis fear for what seems inevitable. Residents are facing long waiting lines for daily water rations.

    While meteorologists believed the drought was initially due to the strong 2015 El Niño, the water problems has continued despite no longer being in El Niño conditions.

    Columnist Tom Eaton tweeted: “I can find references in news articles to #DayZero as far back as May. Want to know how far the city’s plans have come in the subsequent eight months? Trust me‚ you don’t. Holy shit‚ this is appalling.”

    To combat the water crisis, the city is investing in desalination plants, however, they will not be operational before Cape Town runs out of water.

    Education expert Nic Spaull of Stellenbosch University‚ said the city council Day Zero plan was “totally unworkable” because there are too few water-collection points‚ which means 6 320 people queueing per station every day‚ and each somehow carrying 100 litres of water.

    Antoinette Dreyer tweeted sarcastically: “Day Zero will be the result of decades of sub-moronic stupidity… no single political party is responsible.”

    Sources say De Lille spent the money for water infrastructure on buying black votes to keep the city from falling into the hands of the ANC. The country’s official opposition party, the DA, won Cape Town with 66.61 percent of the vote in 2016 under De Lille’s leadership. Despite her shortsightedness, she was voted 22nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

    De Lille did not respond to FWM’s request for comment.

    Early on Monday‚ the deputy mayor met with officials from national disaster management‚ the police‚ the South African Defence Force and the State Security Agency‚ among others.



    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Polish activist Janusz Waluś’s parole hearing

    The long fight of anticommunist activist Janusz Waluś to free himself from a South African prison will continue in court today as he seeks again to be released on parole and deported to his country of birth, Poland.

    African Athletics Championship a complete disaster

    The African Athletics Championship held in Nigeria, has not turned into showing Africa’s sporting prowess to the world, but into an embarrassing fiasco.

    Crisis in multicultural Cape Town as trains go up in smoke

    Trains are regularly burnt in Cape Town by commuters, while City officials speak of "sabotage".

    South Africa: Military specialist speculates on German howitzer sighting

    The German Panzerhaubitze 2000 (or just PzH 2000) was spotted in South Africa recently. FWM interviewed a military specialist to speculate on the sighting of the howitzer.

    South Africa: Indian woman loses job for private text message with ‘k word’

    Alochna Moodley, a South African Indian has just lost her job as a result of sending a Whatsapp message to her fiancé in which she used the word 'kaffir', a South African slur for black people.

    South African Police Minister agrees to release farm murder stats

    PretoriaThe South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, indicated that they would once again release statistics on farm attacks and murders after eleven years of silence on the burning issue as international pressure builds.

    Jail sentence for satirical protest in South Africa?

    As freedom of speech in South Africa dies a slow death, protestors against the country's authoritarian government increasingly risk jail sentences for "showing disrespect".

    South Africa: Land occupation intensifies

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has received a donation of R858 million from the United Kingdom, while the country is increasingly struggling to attract foreign investment in a climate of investment insecurity and faltering economic growth after the ANC leader promised white land grabs.

    SA govt pension fund to bail out leftist media

    Massive turn-out for anti-genocide protest in Perth, Australia

    Native Australians and immigrant South Africans joined hands in protesting the killing of farmers and white genocide in South Africa on Sunday 8 April. A special report of the day was compiled by Free West Media.

    Go to archive