Cape Town Water Crisis [MTC]:
Can one "Day Zero" prevent another?
In October of 2017, the mayor of Cape Town, South Africa announced that the 4 million residents would run out of water in 5 months - forcing the city to turn off the main water supply and limiting the residents to 25 liters/day collected at various water stations across the city.
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*Note: This version of the 'Cape Town Water crisis' case has been modified for use in the Sustainability and Development Master Track program. The original can be found at https://www.learngala.com/cases/capetowndayzero.
Cape Town, South Africa, is running out of water. In 2017, the government announced the first “Day Zero” – the day they anticipated the city would run out of water. The city implemented extreme measures to reduce its water consumption. The efforts were enough- for now. A combination of extreme austerity and unexpected rainfall meant that Cape Town’s Day Zero has been pushed forward to an undetermined date in 2019.
Up until 1987, the city relied solely on spring river water which diminished greatly over the summer dry spells. In 1987, the city constructed its first dam, the "Woodhead Dam" on Table Mountain, and today, the city is supplied largely by five major dams: the Theewaterskloof, Voëlvlei, Berg River, Wemmershoek, and the Steenbras Upper and Lower dams.
A combination of rapid population growth, 79% from 1995 to 2018, and a prolonged drought since 2015 left the dam water levels at dangerously low levels forcing city officials to take action.